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19 Jan, 2010

Is Wine Gluten Free?

Posted by: admin In: Gluten Free

WINE is one of the most contentious areas of the gluten free alcohol industry. The majority of articles suggest that wine is naturally gluten free as it is made from grapes and no grains are involved in the preservative process. However other articles suggest a different story.

“Some wines are aged in barrels that once contained another substance that could have held a glutinous product. This is rare, but can happen. Also you will want to avoid Wine Coolers. Wine Coolers are NOT Gluten Free, because they contain barely malt.” (Ref 3)

“There is also some concern with cross contamination with wines that involves the practice of sealing the barrels with a flour/water paste that is common with European Union barrel manufacturers. Most US based manufactures currently use a neutral food grade paraffin to seal the barrels during the construction process, but there are some manufacturers that import and use the flour/water based barrels.”(Ref 3)

Reference 3 also mentions that the hard paste part of the wheat glue may not be fully removed in the cleaning process and that you can mostly trust wines that are “almost always” made without a barrel aging process such as: “Whites – Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, Italian Pinot Grigio, Bag-In-The-Box wines; and Reds: Bag-In-The-Box wines.” (Ref 3)

You will note that many of the wineries listed in the gluten free pages winery directory are there because their cafes provide gluten free food. And this is often a matter of just including gluten free bread in their offerings. While rare, but still in existence, are wineries that also sell wine labelled as gluten free. You may need to check that these carry the official gluten free authority symbols.

It is suggested that while gluten contamination of wines in America may be relatively rare that a celiac should consider asking wine makers if the wine is gluten free, if it is, then ask if it is certified by a gluten free authority. If they don’t know if it is gluten free maybe you should ask what kind of barrels they use. The gluten free alcohol story is one of ‘better safe than sorry’, especially if you have been so good with avoiding gluten in the rest of your diet!

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