This might be important to you. It’s also a question with a complicated answer.

Is wine organic?

Obviously wine can’t be considered organic if organic growing principles aren’t used when growing the grapes. Ok, say the grapes were grown organically, free of fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, etc. What about after growing though? During the fermentation process, chemicals may be added as stabilizers and preservatives to prevent spoilage. Some countries have different standards for what is considered organic. You might personally disagree with the standards that determine what can be labelled as organic, so the end product is called organic because the grapes were grown as such but it was processed with sulphites to preserve the product. If consuming an organic product is important to you,  maybe you should reconsider drinking that Merlot…

Is wine ok for vegetarian or vegan diets?

Again, this might depend on your personal beliefs. Wineries may use animal-derived products used during clearing and fining the wine. Gelatin, isinglass, chitosan, casein, and egg albumen are all animal derived and often used. The idea behind these products is they will bind with the yeast, proteins, and other organic particles that make the wine appear cloudy, and they will settle to the bottom of the fermenting vessel, and are left behind when the wine is bottled.

Casein and egg albumen are the only products listed above that would be considered safe for a vegetarian diet. The others are all from animal parts. Gelatin comes from the bones of animals, isinglass from the stomach lining of certain fish, chitosan from the shells of shellfish… all no-nos when it comes to vegan diets.

All hope is not lost for the vegans out there. There are fining agents that are non-animal based. Carbon, bentonite, limestone, plant casein, silica gel. How effective they are compared to the animal derived ones, I don’t know… but there are options and alternatives. It may take a little time and research to find a product that suits your diet.

Would it be considered non-vegetarian or non-vegan if the products used are left behind completely and not consumed? I don’t know. I’m neither vegetarian or vegan. Feel free to share your comments or thoughts.

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