July 26, 2014

Is it time to start whining? About wine being gluten free?

Verdi Spumante

Verdi Spumante

Mike has an interesting post over at Switch2GlutenFree.com that has an even more interesting comment string. The original post is dated August 8th, 2009 but still has active comments going as of today.


Because it hits the nail on the head with respect to the extreme complexity of figuring out whether foods and beverages are, or are not, gluten free. As I wrote about recently, some of the big risks for us celiac and gluten intolerance sufferers are those blanket statements like “wine is gluten free!”

Let’s take a closer look at that one. Is wine in fact gluten free? First and foremost, never rely on blanket statements about a food or beverage category. “Wine” is not gluten free. “Most” wines are gluten free. Could someone make a wine that is not gluten free? Sure. I picked up a bottle of wine looking substance in a very wine-like bottle the other day. This particular one was called Verdi Spumante. Turns out it’s a malt beverage. Ummmm. NO!

OK, so it’s not really wine in the first place, but the point is, you never really know what someone is going to put in a product so you have to check every brand and every variety – every time.

Back to the point of this post. What’s interesting about the thread at Switch2GlutenFree.com are the comments from some users about some vintners using a flour-based paste to seal wooden barrels. Hmmm. I happen to be one of those celiac’s that is extremely sensitive, so if there is a trace of anything, anywhere nearby, I’ll get sick.

I know from my personal experience that I can drink wine and be fine 80-90% of the time. Sometimes I get sick though, and I’ve never been able to pin down the source. Could it be a wine-related gluten poisoning? Maybe. Could it be one of a hundred other things? Maybe.

What say you? Is it time to whine about wine?

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  1. laurabosak says:

    Wine is essentially yeast + water + fruit (grapes). While other blogs have accurately summarized the various other potential sources of gluten, no one has mentioned GLUCOSE. I don’t know how wine escapes FDA labeling requirements, but when my husband brews wine, he adds glucose to sweeten certain wines. Glucose is added after the fermentation process and is a stable sugar, not causing a secondary fermentation. Glucose can be derived from corn, cane sugar, as well as wheat. I would be curious to hear to what brands have given Celiacs a reaction, because I would guess it is something added to the wine to refine the taste. Your fav Chardonnay has an oak finish with hint of peach? Something was added to the wine because grapes do not usually taste of oak or peach.

  2. I would like to chime in and let you know that, as another highly-sensitive type, I also get serious reactions from the occasional wine. Almost without fail, I am fine with german wines that have been aged in steel case. The germans are particularly purist about their ingredients (its the law), so no glucose added so far as I know. Good luck & thanks for writing about your experience!

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