Veggie / Vegan. Not such a new idea.
Pythagoras was a vegetarian circa 570BC and a vegetarian diet was known as a Pythagorean Diet right up until the 1800’s. What’s that got to do with wine I hear you asking? It’s just grapes isn’t it? Not necessarily, and there is a growing population that want the info to be able to make a choice.
It is not uncommon for various animal derivatives to be used in the process of clarifying (also known as fining) wine. The most common fining agents are – egg albumen, isinglass (derived from fish bladders), casein (milk protein). And less often – gelatin, fish oil, bone marrow, blood, chitin (fibre from crustaceans).
However, many growers have produced wine for generations without the use of animal derivatives. Some have done this by default rather than design, as their development in processing found that other locally, and readily available materials (clay, limestone, plant extracts, or silica gel) did just the job required. Historically the choice of fining agent was probably driven by availability, and what type of activity a grower’s neighbours were involved in. e.g. quarrying – clay / limestone, fishing – swim bladders etc.
Despite the fact that these components will not be consumed (as they have been used, done their job, and been filtered out prior to bottling), many would prefer to avoid those wines. This information is not normally on the label, although some producers may use a recognised vegan logo where all animal products are avoided. An informed choice is becoming a crucial factor in the marketing of all food stuffs, and there is a growing population that choose where their hard earned cash is going based on these things.
All producers know which way they are doing things, but it is up to the retailers to make sure that the paying public have the information to make their choices.