Is Wine Gluten Free?
It’s hard enough being gluten free without being able to enjoy a glass of red or white with your meal. We’re often asked, “Is wine gluten free?” Luckily, the resounding answer from experts is yes – wine is gluten free! So pour yourself a glass and let’s talk about how wine is made.
Unlike beer, wine is typically made from grapes, which are a naturally gluten-free fruit. There are no hops, wheat, barley or other gluten-containing grains used in wine. Still, there are many issues with wine manufacturing that might have you to think twice about it.
First, there is a myth that all wine is stored in barrels sealed with wheat paste. While this myth is commonly used to dispute that wine is not safe, luckily this is not a very common technique. Even if a vineyard uses wheat paste to seal a barrel, this wheat is not also used in the actual process of making the wine, letting you rest assured that wine is safe.
Popular blogger G-Free Foodie comes from a family of vintners, and claims that this practice of wheat sealing is very rare, and typically only found in European wines. Tank fermentation is a much more common practice – especially in domestic wines. Even on the off chance you do find a wheat-paste-barreled wine (probably the only bottle in your entire state), only the heads of the barrels are sealed, so your wine should never touch the paste. If you’d like to hear more about this, listen to our associate editor, Jules Shepard, on her podcast, The Gluten Free Voice, which talks about gluten-free alcohol.
But does wine still make you sick? Well, there are still issues with wine that may make you feel unwell.
Top allergens like eggs, casein, and fish are often used for clarifying wine. However, there is no gluten used in the clarification process. Unless you are vegan or have allergies or sensitivities to these allergens, then the clarification process is safe.
Next, you could be sensitive to the sulfites, tannins, and histamines in wine. You could also have a sensitivity to yeast. This reaction might lead you to believe that it’s not gluten free – when in reality you are reacting to something else.
Please note that wine coolers are typically not safe, as they use malted barley as a flavoring. As always, please make sure you check the ingredients on any item that is not a wine made from 100% fruit. Real wine, made with just grapes and yeast, is gluten free and safe for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
We can drink to that!
Written by Erica Dermer, originally published in Gluten Free & More.