Where are we at on fining and filtration for reds, whites, and beyond?

newhere It seems there are a number of great producers that don’t make use of fining or filtration mostly for reds, but a lot of whites, rose, and sparkling are seemingly still likely to be made with various animal derived products to fine/filter. I have a feeling that alternatives are going to become more widely used to try and bring in some new vegan customers. Maybe we’ll start to see more dedicated vegan wineries popping up or at least more “vegan friendly” labeling, but the major hold up seems to be tied to the practice of fining and filtration. “Natural” producers may be less likely to use these practices, but are more likely to practice biodynamic, which some extra particular vegans may not be fond of as well. What do the winemakers or winery employees of this board think? If you know some of your products are vegan friendly, but aren’t interested in having a certification then you should consider reaching out to the site Barnivore.com to let the vegan community know about you!If the amount of vegans in the world continues to grow and they have a thirst for tasty booze they are likely to be a bit disappointed with how it appears the wine world is far more behind than the beer and spirit industry on this.

Filtration requires no animal products at all. There are a couple of vegan fining options as well, although I don’t think their use is widespread. There are many white wines that only go through filtration(and plenty that don’t even do that).

Most good/great wines are not filtered. Have no idea what the premise of this thread is.

You might be right, but until producers state that they do not fine/filter 100% of the time or that they use animal product free alternatives 100% of the time they are leaving money on the table. If you don’t want to believe me now I can assure you this will become more of an issue in the future. Currently the vast majority of producers do not indicate any philosophy that wine should be free of animal products. I believe most Berserkers know that wine is centered around good viticulture, good winemaking, and not much else. Use of egg white, mega purple, isinglass, etc. is unnecessary and doesn’t seem to add to the final product. Wine should naturally be vegan even with many winemaking techniques. Transparency is important. Listening to your customers is important. Realizing a newer generation is less interested in your product for a reason is also important. Modern Times is one of the quickest growing breweries in the world and they state that all their products are vegan. Is that just coincidence? Even Guinness is making sure their customers know they are not using isinglass for their classic stout after getting a lot of backlash over its previous use of it.

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Marcus, that is my opinion as well. I am a bit concerned over the lack of transparency on the topic as it very clearly seems to be an optional step for both fining and filtration. If you are putting out a product that commands the price tags of many fine wines I would hope that you could successfully sell your wine to someone who wants to avoid a small handful of animal products that are entirely optional in winemaking. This doesn’t mean your tasting room needs to become all vegan (wine + cheese or charcuterie is likely here to stay), but this is different from the current state of breweries where by default everything is vegan and some trendy brewers choose to add lactose, bacon, or other non-veg friendly adjuncts to their beer. I’m not asking non-vegans to boycott non-vegan wines, that would be silly. I’m just here to raise the questions before the market likely makes it known that this is going to be a relic of the past.

You started the thread with a false positive, and a bad assumption. To begin with…

When I have not done anything to the wine in the bottle outside of “crush, macerate, punch down, press and age” I see absolutely no reason to make a statement about whatever negative and imagenary issue YOU may have. This subject of “labeling” is way too tiring by now, doesn’t matter what you think. There is WAY MORE taking place in a bottle of so called and, in my view, a MISNOMER of a “natural wine” than you want to know. And yet… Wine I make is EONS more NATURAL and CLEAN than whatever you end up buying labeled as such. That’s all I need to know. I find it hilarious that while everyone claims that great wine starts in the vineyard, and, well, it does!, some then completely ignore the very valid and obvious premise and buy “unnatural wine” from “You pick your own bushel” type vineyards. There is a reason great fruit costs great money and takes great effort to stay great throughout the growing season, ending with a picking crew doing a clean pick and keeping the fruit fresh while trasporting to the winery. I’ve seen my share of cheap ass U-Haul truck rentals used to pick up fruit, by the time it arrived at the winery no responsible winemaker should have touched it. And yet…

It only snow balls from there. I never leave the winery until each and every piece of equipment I use or touch is cleaned and ready to go the next morning, even when at times I was dead tired and it was 1AM before I even got into the car to drive home (95 miles one way at times). I seriously doubt this “cleanliness protocol” instilled in me from Day 1 is followed by all the “unnatural wine” guys. “Labeling” means nothing to me when I KNOW some are lying on theirs, and WILL LIE no matter how many laws are passed. Its human nature, preying on the weak minded and uneducated consumers.

Cotturi was probably one of the fathers of this “unnatural wine” movement, and almost every bottle was an adventure, no 2 tasting same. Probably still is, I have not tasted any in a while, and have absolutely no inclination to. Used to be a tough sell in my days in retail. I somehow doubt you even know the name while rambling on the subject.

Do a search of the board next time you start a thread, this subject is a deadhorse

You either trust the wine maker you buy from, or no label will ever help you. No way, no how. Same as in any other business.

Over and out. Have fun in your adventures demanding meaningless “labeling”.

I am sympathetic to your position overall, but rhetoric like the above that imply causality seem pretty disingenuous. It actually detracts from your argument.

Even when fining with egg-white nothing of it remains in the finished wine … so what? And there is always bentonit as alternative …

Yes, I agree with this, and I’ve talked to quite a few firsthand who are disappointed with not knowing which wines are vegan.

Once you start throwing the word “natural” around, you’ll get some people a bit fired up, as you can already see in the post that largely argues against assertions you didn’t make. That aside (it shouldn’t really matter), if a wine hasn’t been treated with animal products, it is vegan, correct? So, if you say there are biodynamic practices that some vegans wouldn’t like, a statement that a wine is vegan would not help those people to know that. It is a shame that wanting to know a wine hasn’t been fined with animal products often pushes people into the natural category, where they really shouldn’t need to be, and where they might find a lot of wines that they don’t like.

Please note Marcus’ point that filtration requires no animal products. You’re really just talking about fining, but you keep lumping it together with filtration. Also, these processes are not really seen as optional by many producers for a number of reasons. I’ll leave out filtration since it isn’t actually relevant. Fining is often used to clarify and/or soften mouthfeel. Those can be important changes for wines in certain categories and price ranges, and especially for anything made in very large quantities.

I totally agree with Chris here. It’s quite a small percentage of people who self-identify as vegan, and polling for something like that is likely to produce a hugely inflated number compared to true vegans who are strict enough to care about this issue. (see How Many Vegans Are There Really in the U.S.?, “To get the full picture, researchers also asked about what participants had eaten in the past 24 hours on two separate occasions. Of the self-identifying vegetarians, 64% had eaten at least 10 grams of meat in one or both of the 24-hour periods.”) The true target audience you’re talking about is tiny. It’s ridiculously unlikely that they are affecting the market in any meaningful way.

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That’s a little extreme. Are you seriously suggesting some Vegan-wave that fundamentally alters the landscape of alcohol sales?

Most good and great wines from the Mosel are filtered. There are lots of truly great wines that are not filtered and lots that are.

It’s a tool, and in cool vintages filtration of red wines can be a benefit by removing minor astringencies allowing the fruit to blossom. In reverse, having a tiny amount of turbidity in hot vintages can add astringency and help balance out overt fruit and sweetness.

That said, I also have no idea of the premise of this thread.

I assumed the OP had some connection to the link posted (barnivore.com) which lists no contacts or other ways to ID whose operation it is — but it appears to have almost no traffic or participation. I was waiting for a pitch to buy into a certification scheme or something similar. Perhaps not.

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This is such ridiculous thread in so many ways as many of you have pointed out above. But let me go back to one statement that a winemaker made ’ most good/great wines are not filtered’. Greg, do you have any statistics to prove this point? It seems like a ‘conventional wisdom’ that may not be as true as you think it is.

Filtration has such a bad ‘connotation’ to many wine consumers because it’s made to reek of commercialism, of ‘industrial winemaking’, and that is simply not the case whatsoever.

This is one of those cases where there is way more gray area than there is black and white.


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If you are biodynamic you should not be filtering…

This is just completely wrong. A tremendous number of white wines are filtered because…they have to be. Any wine that does not complete ML is (or should be) filtered. Tons of white wines across the globe fall into this category.

People often times think filtration=bad. It simply is not so. It’s a tool.

I haven’t seen any surveys but I would presume that the number of wineries using animal based fining products, even egg whites, has declined radically over the past coupld of decades. I don’t know a single producer that uses egg white fining. Again, not like that’s some massive number of people but it is not insignificant.


Agree as I stated above. And please don’t minimize the filtration of reds as well. I WISH that certain regions like CdP filtered more so that I didn’t have to play ‘russian roulette’ determining the brett level of wines based on provenance and shipping temperatures [swearing.gif]


Protein stability in whites is the big thing. But for that you fine with bentonite.

Egg white finning is still reasonably common in Bordeaux but rare in Burgundy (Coche still does it, saying that it improves long-term aging at the expense of near-term expressiveness; whereas Aubert de Villiane has told me that “red Burgundy doesn’t take to being fined any more”). I confess to being quite interested in it as a technique. If nothing else because fining, along with racking, is one of the two big things missed out of most discussions of “modern” versus “old fashioned” winemaking: serious Bordeaux, for example, as recently as the 1960s, would be racked every six months and fined several times before bottling, three years after the vintage. Contemporary élevage orthodoxies are very different.

It’s a pity, seeing the title of the thread, I thought this might have been an interesting discussion of the state-of-the-art, but instead it appears to be a question of whether or not to appease militant vegans.



Not sure that I understand why that is? Biodynamic isn’t the same mantra as “natural” at all.

And even so, a lot of the Willamette Valley’s “natty” producers filter now, to pin the wines in place and prevent them from going downhill in bottle. (Which is smart on their part)

So let’s encourage your thread drift and make this a bit more interesting.

Completely speculating, I would guess fining and racking are declining from modern winemaking because of the ability to minimize microbial populations in other ways. Use of steam, ozone, and newer fining agents like aspergillus niger(vegan) and lysozyme(found in egg whites and tears), and cross-flow filtration all make controlling microbial populations easier than it was(by far) in the 1960s.

Back then, egg whites would clarify a wine and drop sediments to the bottom of the barrel. Racking off those lees would drastically reduce the number of cells in a growing microbial population, but not eradicate it. Redoing the process every 6 months would be a way to minimize these types of issues. It does remove the possibility of textural enhancent from autolysis of lees though, and many modern producers(myself included) prefer to stay on the lees as long as possible.

I am however, completely speculating on that.