Do you know that most wine you drink is probably not 100% vegan? Odile from Winestories tells you why, and how you can still enjoy a glass of wine! YES!
“Probably one of the most interesting facts I can tell about the wines we import is that they are all 100% VEGAN” said Odile, founder of Winestories, a couple of weeks ago. WAIT, WHAT? Did I hear that well? “Aren’t all wines vegan?!” was my stunned response. Odile explained me that, during the wine making process, animal products are added to most wines we buy in supermarkets and wine shops. I was SHOCKED! Luckily Odile told me there is are exceptions, so that you and I do not immediately have to give up our glass of wine during dinner (phieww). I asked Odile if she was willing to write a guest blog about this interesting topic (and the exceptions of course ;)). And she said yes!
GUEST BLOG BY ODILE VAN DER WEELE, FOUNDER OF WINESTORIES
Odile: Most people I speak with think that wine is always vegan, because it is made of grapes and no animal products are used. I often have to explain them that this is not completely true.
During the wine making process, the wine can go through a couple of steps which can make the wine not vegan or vegetarian anymore. This is called ‘fining’. It is a process in which the winemaker often uses Gelatin, Albumin (egg white), Casein (milk egg white) and Isinglass (a substance obtained from the dried swim bladders of fish). Most conventional wines undergo this process.
How does it work?
After the fermenting process of the grapes is done, the wine stays in tanks to settle. In the wine are loads of particles and protein molecules that can make the wine cloudy if not removed. This is the reason why a winemaker would start a ‘fining process’ to remove those small particles. The ‘fining product’ makes the particles glue together, so they end up in the bottom of the tank. After that, the wine is filtered and the particles are removed.
Result? A clean wine. Does it taste better? No. So why would we do it, you might think. This is done just for the customers, the market. People often want a clean wine that looks good on the eye. A cloudy wine would not be sold in the supermarket, because it might look dirty. But actually, in my opinion the wine tastes even better when it’s not filtered and fined. It is more alive, they have more character and the wines are real and unique. They express the fruit, the terroir and the love of the winemaker. And the residual yeast cells and grape skin or other particles that are left in the bottom of the bottle? They just give a little bit of cloudiness to the wine. Nothing more.
All the wines we import at Winestories are 100% plant-based. We only import wines that are made in a natural way, whereby there are no chemicals used in the vineyard, no animal products, no sprays, no herbicides or insecticides and in the cellar the wines undergo a minimal intervention. This means the wines are all unfiltered, without fining and without added sulfites. Next to being completely vegan, all the wines are organic too!
For more info about your new favourite vegan wines: www.winestories.nl!
* Winestories is founded by Dutch Odile van der Weele and Italian Riccardo Russo. They both worked for several years in restaurants and winebars in Tuscany and Amsterdam before starting Winestories together. They share one passion, wine. Odile studied Law at the University of Amsterdam and followed WSET2 and WSET3 courses to learn more about her passion. Riccardo studied Wine and Enology at the University of Pisa and has been sommelier at Enoteca Marcucci for several years. After that, he had his own restaurant in Pietrasanta and was rewarded second place in the sommelier contest Il miglior sommelier d’Italia 2006 FISAR. Living in Amsterdam at the moment, he is the headchef at natural winebar Bar Centraal in Amsterdam.