We've reported on the organic bubbly from Domaine Carneros - the only certified organic sparkling wine in the United States - before. Now, they are happy to report that their sparkling wine is also vegan-friendly, and apparently always has been. Champagne and sparkling wine have animal products in them? Who knew?The entire estate, all 350 acres, at Domaine Carneros, including the grapes grown for their sparkling wine and their pinot noir, are all certified organic. While the grapes have been grown organically for the last twenty years, they didn't get official California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) label until 2008.
What Makes Their Sparkling Wine Organic?
Wine goes through a process called "Remuage," which is the preparation for the clarifying process after the second fermentation process, which is where the bubbles come from. The fermentation process typically leaves sediment, which is why the clarification process is necessary. Most sparkling wine and champagne makers use either egg whites or isinglass (an extract from sturgeon bladders) to push the sediment through the necks of the inverted bottles. Then this agent is removed from the wine, but there are particles left over. Domaine Carneros instead uses "Clarifiant S, sodium bentonite," which is a clay-based product, to remove the sediment and clarify the sparkling wine, thus eliminating the animal products and making a vegn wine.
CEO and chief winemaker (what a job!) Eileen Crane has implemented several new green features around the winery to help the wine and their carbon footprint. In 2003 the winery installed the largest photvoltaic system on any winery in the world at 48,000 kilowatts, and even that only cover half of their usage. In 2003, they also decided to climate control their winery buildings naturally. They sunk the buildings under the ground, partially, heavily insulated the buildings and uses passive cooling at night.
To grow great green grapes, Domaine Carneros, as well mentioned grows them organically. This means beefing up the compost around the vines to avoid having to spray herbicides and pesticides. It also means encouraging red-tailed hawks and owls to live on the premises to keep pests in check. According to Crane, they choose a vine-health approach, rather than focusing on a disease-fighting approach. The winery also hires staff year-round, rather than just seasonally, which allows them to have a steady income and earn benefits, but also to have intimate knowledge of the vines.
Now you can serve up your vegan-friendly, green holiday party in style with vegan sparkling wine. To find Domaine Carneros sparkling wine and pinot noir, check your local wine shop or find them online. :Domaine Carneros
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