The short answer: wines that are grown naturally—without the use of synthetic pesticides—and bottled consciously—without added sugars or non-organic chemicals to modify texture, flavor, color or aroma. Store bought wines use chemical pesticides and additives to maximize yields and hide flaws like bacteria and other unpleasant elements.
How do you verify a wine is Clean-Crafted?
It’s a multi-part process. First, we find the most wildly delicious wines that reflect a sense of place. Second, we work with the grower and/or producer to understand their process in the vineyard and in the cellar. Third, we review detailed reports detailing the viticulture and vinification process of each wine. Fourth, we conduct two independent lab test on each wine to confirm that there are no synthetic pesticides present in addition to any other necessary analyses if not previously confirmed or provided.
What are sulfites?
Sulfites are naturally occurring antioxidant and antibacterial compounds in grapes and are utilized to protect the wine from oxygen until it reaches your glass. Because of the slow-crafted, intentional way Scout & Cellar wines are made, they require very little sulfur additions to remain stable. Most have less than 50ppm, all must have less than 100ppm. As a point of reference, the FDA allows up to 350ppm. Some individuals are sensitive to large amounts of sulfites which can produce breathing difficulties and, less commonly, hives or other allergy-like symptoms.
What makes a wine vegan?
The reason that all wines are not vegan has to do with how the wine is clarified through a 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), albumin (egg whites), 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 four may be off limits for strict vegans.