It wasn’t until I started selling wine with Scout & Cellar that I learned that all wine is vegan. I always assumed it was – it’s made with grapes, right?
It turns out that not all wines are vegan due to a clarifying process called “fining”. All young wines are hazy and contain tiny molecules such as proteins, tartrates, tannins and phenolics. These are completely natural and not harmful, however many wine-drinkers prefer wine to be clear and bright.
Most wines, if bottle-aged long enough, will self-stabilize and self-fine. However, producers use a variety of aids called “fining agents” to remove these haze-inducing molecules. Essentially, the fining agent acts like a magnet – attracting the molecules around it. These molecules coagulate around the fining agent, creating fewer but larger particles, which can then be more easily removed during filtration. Commonly-used fining agents include casein (a milk protein), chitin (fiber from crustacean shells), egg albumin (egg whites), fish oil, gelatin (animal protein), isinglass (fish bladder protein) and bentonite (clay).
These fining agents are not additives to the wine: they are filtered out along with the haze molecules. Wines fined with casein and albumin are consistent with vegetarian diets while wines fined with any of the others may be off limits for strict vegans.
There is no easy way to know if the wine is vegan or not, if it’s important to you, the best way to find out is to ask the producer or the distributor.
Canned Rosé has been a dream of our Founder, Sarah Shadonix, for the better part of three years and she’s tickled pink to the have the 14K Rosé available for sale today! The arrival of this wine is timed perfectly with Spring Forward, Spring Break and everything that comes with the change in seasons.
This crisp, refreshing quality wine has tastes of strawberry, orange peel and a bright mineralogy with zippy acidity and a clean finish. And with zero grams of added or residual sugar this wine will be a great companion to all your activities.
As an added bonus, the 14K Rose packaging is made using PakTech handles which are made from recycled #2 HDPE materials and are now 100% recyclable. And the covered tops and self-nesting design keeps cans clean and allows us to build pallets without trays. The lighter weight of the cans also reduces our carbon footprint. This allows us to bring a casual, delicious wine to you and love the environment at the same time!
My favorite wine this month is the Hybrid Red from Girasole Vineyards in Mendocino, California. Charlie Barra, the owner, believes that farming organically is the only way to go. “Yes, it’s more work (annual adults, paperwork, labor requirements), more risk (crop devastation from pests) and not necessarily a bigger payout, but it’s essential to the well-being of this planet. We need to leave this earth the way we found it, and that doesn’t include chemicals.” The winery is family-run: mom Martha and dad Charlie Barra, alongside Martha’s kids Shawn Harmon and Shelley Mary handle all aspects of the business including grape-growing, winemaking, sales, marketing and distribution management. The grapes included in this wine are 60% Merlot, 16% Sangiovese, 14% Petite Syrah, 10% Cabernet which all together makes a wine that went great with my Valentine’s Day heart-shaped pizzas and my beloved. I continue to find this wine very drinkable with tastes of ripe cherry, blackberry, mocha and sweet dried herbs. I’m loving everything Girasole has produced that we’ve sold and especially this one this month.
You’ll also note that I used my Aervana with this wine. I don’t know that it is necessary but it’s so easy to pour through the spout and the wines tastes extra fresh and smooth – why not? Have you tried any of the Girasole wines? What do you think of them?
What does it mean to be the only curated clean-crafted wine club? For Sarah Shadonix, founder of Scout & Cellar, it means no wine headaches. Sarah was studying to become a sommelier and started developing headaches. She went to a variety of doctors and they could find no reason for them. One night she shared a bottle of wine with friends and didn’t have a headache. As she did more research, she realized that the way wine is made may contribute to headaches.
For a wine to be considered clean-crafted, it must satisfy the following guidelines:
Chemicals, pesticides and added sugars have allowed wine producers to get around the natural unpredictability and promote wine that tastes the same, bottle after bottle, year after year. This also made it possible to hide flaws that may exist in those bottles, like bacteria and other unpleasant elements. Unfortunately, wineries rely on pesticides, additives and added sweeteners, which means chemically altered, completely unnatural wine is now the norm. Scout & Cellar is here to offer a cleaner, healthier, altogether better wine experience to everyone.
Check out the range of clean-crafted wine available from Scout & Cellar here.
I love my job. I really, really love my job. I get to help people identify the most meaningful ways they can invest their money into nonprofits in the community. So, you might be wondering why I signed up to be a wine consultant with Scout & Cellar in my spare time. Three reasons:
1. I like to drink wine. At the end of the day, I like to relax with a glass of wine. And I really like sharing a tasty bottle of wine with friends and family. And I find the State Stores in PA overwhelming when I’m trying to buy a bottle. Having a curated selection to chose from narrows my choices and alleviates that stress. Have you read the book Paradox of Choice? In it, Barry Schwartz identifies how too many choices can lead to anxiety and stress. I’d rather have a Level 3 Sommelier make my decisions for me.
2. I like to eat organic when I can, I use products without chemicals on my skin, so why wouldn’t I do the same with wine? Knowing that the wine I’m drinking is clean-crafted is reassuring. And what does clean-crafted mean? To Sarah Shadonix, the founder of Scout & Cellar and the curator of the wines, it means that the wines are grown naturally—without the use of synthetic pesticides—and bottled consciously—without added sugars or chemicals to modify texture, flavor, color or aroma. The result is wine that is clean, delicious and better for you—just like nature intended!
3. I like getting packages in the mail – if I sign up for a wine club membership, I can get packages regularly throughout the year. It’s kind of like celebrating my birthday all year long! Wine clubs have been a long standing tradition between me and my dad. He has given me a wine club membership as my Christmas gift for a while now. I love having packages to come home to-sort of why I also have a history with Birchbox, Sock of the Month and Yogi Surprise.
And that last point leads me to another important reason why I’m working with Scout & Cellar – family. I mentioned that my father regularly gifts me with wine of the club memberships. Well, Sarah Shadonix is my father’s brother’s daughter. Did you follow that? She’s my cousin. And she grew up in Texas and I grew up in Pennsylvania and our grandparents lived in Iowa. We didn’t see each other very often. As I’m getting older I’m wanting a stronger connection to my extended family. Working with Sarah and her wine business is one way to do that.