The majority of people are unaware that wine, although made from grapes, may have been made using animal-derived products. During the wine-making process, the liquid is filtered through substances called ‘fining agents.’ This process is used to remove proteins, yeasts, cloudiness, “off” flavors and colorings, and other organic particles. Popular animal-derived fining agents used in the production of wine include:
Blood and bone marrow
Casein (milk protein)
Chitin (fiber from crustacean shells)
Egg albumen (derived from egg whites)
Gelatin (protein from boiling animal parts)
Isinglass (gelatin from fish bladder membranes)
Thankfully, there are several common fining agents that are animal-friendly, and are used to make vegan wine. Carbon, bentonite clay, limestone, kaolin clay, plant casein, silica gel, and vegetable plaques are all suitable alternatives.
The Vegetarian Resource Group has thoroughly researched this issue. According to this article(see link at the bottom below the photo), the use of blood as a clarifying agent is forbidden in French and U.S. produced wines. If you have evidence to the contrary, please bring this to the attention of PETA.
Now, the trick is finding out where you can buy these wines. You can check your local organic or health food stores, local organic winemakers, co-op’s, and most regular wine/liquor stores will order vegan wines upon request. The following are examples of a few companies that sell vegan wine:
Organic Wine Company: www.ecowine.com (888-ECO-WINE)
China Bend Winery: www.chinabend.com (800-700-6123)
Fitzpatrick Winery: www.fitzpatrickwinery.com (800-245-9166)
Smithfield Wine: http://petamall.com/PLPShop.asp?RecordID=71 (+44 (0161) 273 6070)
Frey Winery: www.freywine.com (800-760-3739)
Organic Wine Works: www.organicwineworks.com (703-802-222)
Pure Wine Company: www.purewine.co.uk (023 80238214)
Rutherford Hill: www.rutherfordhill.com (707-963-1871)
Wrights Wines: www.wrightswines.co.nz (06 868 0967)
An extensive list of vegan wines, sorted by country of origin and brand name, is available at http://homepage.eircom.net/~thewub/vegan/wine.html.
The Vegetarian Resource Group article