In order to bind the natural particles in the wine, most winemakers will use egg whites, milk extracts (such as casein), various gelatins produced from the skin or bones of cows and pigs, as well as some "glue"-type products extracted from fish scales. A couple of years ago, some wineries even added some cow blood in their wines, even though this practice is now banned because of the risk of Mad Cow disease.
The good news is that at the beginning of this year, a European regulation obliges wineries to indicate on their label the presence of any animal protein. This might in turn force many winemakers to abandon the use of animal by-products as it is expected many consumers could be turned off by these practices.
There are many other natural filtration methods in existence today which require no animal proteins whatsoever. Thanks to this new regulation, it is anticipated that the market for vegan wines will grow quickly over the next couple of years.
For a host of delicious and cruelty-free recipes (with or without vegan wine!) and tips to transition to a healthy plant-based diet, please visit ChooseVeg.ca.