So … is Trinitas Cellars vegetarian/vegan … gluten free?
Many of our members and patrons have recently been asking if we are vegetarian/vegan and/or gluten-free friendly. In short, yes, we are! Please read below for the specifics.
To start, let’s give some very basic definitions:
Vegetarian: Someone who does not eat meat. There is really no one type of vegetarian; some are okay with dairy products (lacto), others are okay with eggs (ovo) or consume poultry or fish/shellfish, some are even okay with gelatin (animal byproduct) or rennet (found in cheeses, traditionally an animal byproduct used as a curdling agent) .
Vegan: No animal byproducts at all (ie. honey, leather, silk, wool, gelatin, rennet, white sugar (due to it being filtered with an animal byproduct), etc).
Gluten: Protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and associated grain species, like barley and rye. Wine is fundamentally gluten free, as it is made from grapes. There are two places in winemaking where gluten may be introduced, though neither is usually used in the US of A. The first is the practice of using a flour paste to seal oak barrels. The other is the practice of fining.
Fining: Substances that are usually added at or near the completion of the processing of brewing wine, beer, and various nonalcoholic juice beverages. Their purpose is for removal of organic compounds; to either improve clarity or adjust flavor/aroma. An alternative to using animal products for fining is bentonite, a clay mineral, or gluten.
Isinglass: Substance obtained from fish. It is a form of collagen used primarily for the clarification of wine and beer.
Bentonite: Special type of very fine clay of the aluminum-silicate type used for fining.
Technically speaking all wine contains some degree of contamination of liquefied spiders, bugs, etc, so producing a 100% vegetarian or vegan wine is more or less impossible regardless of the type of fining agents used.
Now that we have covered the technicalities of what means what, let’s see what Trinitas Cellars uses:
White Wines: Isinglass from Sea Sturgeon (for fining)
Red Wine 2005 and before: Gelatin (for fining)
Red Wine after 2005 to present: bentonite (for fining)
Barrels: oak barrels without a gluten sealant
So, over the course of our history, Trinitas Cellar has employed various methods to fine our wine. Please note, that when gelatin and isinglass were used in the fining process, we thoroughly filter the wine and any residue is in the parts per trillion. In other words you consume more animal products (insects, arachnids, what have you) each day in processed foods, than you will drink in a few bottles of wine each week.
In the end, Trinitas Cellars is 100% gluten free. We are vegetarian or vegan depending on your point of view.
Also, most of the cheeses for sale in our tasting room are usually vegetarian (rennet free).
All in all, we hope you enjoy our wine!
Note about the writer: Brianna Pickens has been an ovo-lacto vegetarian for 17 years.