“Isn’t all wine vegetarian, it’s made from grapes?”
Wine is essentially made from grapes, however animal products are commonly used in the production process, and these wines may not be a suitable part of a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Animal-derived products are used to clear and brighten wine, removing proteins, yeast, and other particles which are in suspension during the fermentation. Examples of animal products used as clearing agents are gelatin (bone), isinglass (fish bladders), chitosan (shellfish shell), casein (milk protein) and egg albumen (egg white). Bull’s blood is used in some countries but is not allowed in the U.S. or Europe. Casein and albumen are normally acceptable for vegetarians, but not for vegans and not for people with milk or egg allergies.
“At Château de Claribès we use natural methods and only produce vegetarian* and vegan wine.”
To remove sediment: Natural settling in time & cool temperatures and the lunar cycle to determine when to undertake racking.
To remove proteins: from white and rosé wines we use Bentonite, a volcanic clay mineral.
To remove proteins: from red wines we use a natural vegetable clearing agent if necessary.
“We state clearly on our labels and the online-shop which wines are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.”
Current regulations do not require wine labels to declare the clearing agents used or declare whether the wine may contain allergens. There are moves in Europe to change this but they are not yet in effect.
“Organic or Biologique” wine is not necessarily vegetarian or vegan. There are Organic approved versions of all the animal clearing and brightening agents!
*For our first vintage 2005 we used albumen to clear the reds, hence they are suitable for vegetarians. All our other wines and vintages are suitable for vegans and vegetarians.