There’s a huge amount of variety of white wines, including the following well known white grapes:
- Chenin Blanc
- Pinot Grigio (or Pinot Gris)
- Sauvignon Blanc
And some less common ones:
Making white wine
The basic steps for making white wine are as follows:
- Pick the grapes (by hand or machine).
- Crush the grapes.
- Press the grapes to separate the skin from the juice.
- Leave the juice to ferment. This fermentation stage can last from 2 to 4 weeks.
- Age the wine in suitable vessels (tanks, oak barrels, concrete eggs etc).
- Stabilise the wine (filtration and/or finings).
- Bottle the wine.
It is the stabilising wine stage (fining specifically) that determines if the wine is vegan or not. Some wines are not filtered or fined, therefore they will automatically be vegan. If a wine is fined, then as long non-animal derived finings are used (for example, clay, pea gelatine or charcoal), you will have a vegan white wine. You can read more about this in Vegan Wine.
White wines are more often not vegan than red wines because they are transparent, and therefore a bit of sediment has nowhere to hide! This is worth remembering, just because your favourite red is vegan, it doesn’t necessarily mean the white from the same vineyard is. Of course a natural wine, will often be a little cloudy.
The decision to fine or not is up to the winemaker and may even vary year by year depending on the quality of grapes. Often high quality wines and wines made in small batches are less likely to use any fining agents, instead allowing gravity to naturally settle the sediments to the bottom of the tanks before removing the clear wine (racking).