Fining agents are important tools for wine clarification, stabilization, and organoleptic improvement. Animal derived proteins such as gelatin, egg albumin and casein are the main proteinaceous fining agents used for fining must and wine. Egg and milk derived fining agents are well-known food allergens with their use in winemaking presenting a risk if residuals remain in wine after treatment. Alternatively, plant based proteinaceous fining agents extracted from legumes, potatoes, and algae, have been around for over 20 years with historical use in the Europe, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. With the growing demand for plant-based and “free-from/low intervention” wines, it is crucial that the US wine industry explores and applies these plant-based substitutes. In this discussion we will be discussing real-world examples and applications of plant-based fining agent in Australia and South Africa. Additionally, we will review the regulatory status of these innovative fining agents, as well as explore the opportunities for plant-based fining in the US.
In this discussion, we will be joined with our partners in South Africa and Australia to discuss their markets’ plant-based winemaking/fining techniques and trends observed this 2021 harvest.