The best winemaking uses as little inputs as possible. Of course, we start with the fruit, and most of us add a commercial yeast selected to maximize the desired wine characteristics. After the initial fermentation is done, the winemaker’s challenges really begin.
Keeping the wine stable, free from oxygen, and getting it to the clarity necessary in today’s marketplace involves lots of choices. Some of the additives that could be used at this stage, especially for clarification, have an animal origin.
Historically, red wines have been clarified using egg whites – which is why French cuisine has lots of recipes for egg yolks. Gelatin, made from the hooves of animals is also used to clarify and stabilize wines. Sometimes even we need to use a derivative of skim milk, but we limit this and always tell our customers if this has happened. Another common additive comes from – can you believe this – the linings of the swim bladders from sturgeon. We have never found a need for this product.
We are careful with our wine production and never use animal products when we can avoid them. We are pleased to be listed among the very few vegan wineries in America.