Is wine gluten-free?

gluten free wine
The NYT had a lengthy piece about the impressive growth in the market for gluten-free foods, driven in large part by the wider diagnosis of celiac disease and gluten allergy in this country. Is wine gluten-free?

The short answer is: yes. Wine is made from grapes, not grains.

In a couple of rare instances, wine could come in contact with gluten at two points during winemaking. Apparently, barrels once had a flour-based paste to smooth the joints on barrel heads; the practice today is far from uniform. If you have a doubt, opt for a wine that doesn’t see any time in small, oak barrels, such as a Riesling. Further, gluten could be used to fine the wine, but other forms of protein, such as egg whites, are used more often. Even if a winemaker used a gluten-based substance for fining, the point of fining is to clarify the wine: the fining substance drifts through the wines, collects any unwanted particles and falls out to the bottom of the tank where it is left behind. Research using mass spectrometry found there to be less than 10 parts per million in finished (bottled) wine, below the 20ppm threshold for a food to be considered gluten-free.

Current labeling laws do not mandate that wines that come in contact with gluten are labeled as such. But the chances are pretty slim that any wines actually contain gluten. Thus it will be interesting to see if, going forward, more wines tout their gluten-free status on the label to tie-in with the food trend.

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20 Responses to “Is wine gluten-free?”


  1. For what it’s worth, I have celiac disease, and I’ve never had a gluten-like reaction to any wine.


  2. I agree the U.S.A FDA should be more strict on ingredients in any substance especially substances that proof of age is required, tobacco included. After all our tax money pays them to protect the consumer right?


  3. Thanks for explaining – very few people in the gluten-free community seem to be aware of that.


  4. I, too, have celiac and have never had a problem with any wines. I have heard one or two celiacs claim that they’ve had a wine reaction, but it seems to be very rare. There are many, many more celiacs who safely drink wine than don’t.


  5. I did some investigation for a client with celiac and found that most Coopers use flour past to help seal the joint around the barrel head. You can goto this post http://vimeo.com/24992055 from our recent trip to france to see how it is used. Notice the compound the Cooper is using before he installs the head. Flour past.

    Glade to hear that the wine tested well bellow 20 ppb and will pass that onto our client.

    Cheers,
    g


  6. Nice piece of info here we have, seems that you have quite a gluten consciousness ;)


  7. Thanks for the clarification on this. I’ve never had a problem with wine, though some people swear they’ve had a reaction, maybe it is the sulphites!? I’ve never heard about Fining, so thanks for the info on that.


  8. I have not had a reaction from gluten in wine like I do if I were to eat gluten. I just sometimes get a sore stomach, but I find that’s from the preservatives that can sometimes be there.

    Thank you for the info though, interesting to read how it can be produced.


  9. Very interesting article. One thing though, I believe the technology is called mass spectroscopy or sometimes called mass spectrometry, not spectronomy. Unless it’s another form of mass spec that I haven’t heard of. Anyhow, good info!


  10. […] done online research.  Here is and interesting discussion regarding wine being gluten-free on Dr. Vino.  Click on the highlighted link on Dr. Vino and learn where gluten may enter into the wine making […]


  11. […] Dr. Vino – Is Wine Gluten Free? […]


  12. This is a simple but great article. I find it a controversial topic continuously. I write a gluten free blog and will be using this as an example in my post “Is Wine Gluten Free?”

    I personally have had reactions to wine, that are the same reactions that I get from cross contamination of gluten. However, not the same response I get from actually consuming gluten like a piece of bread.

    I have also enjoyed the site switch 2 gluten free, by a guy named Mike. He claims he has never heard of a person reacting to wine. Yet there are many responses in his forum like mine that share many people have reacted to wine who have celiacs.

    Anyways thanks for the share
    Erinn


  13. […] Dr. Vino, claims that wine is gluten free, however there is a small possibility for cross contamination.  View More Here. […]


  14. I have no idea, I’ve had my share of experience with alcohol, I might have CD waiting to see a specialist, I have all the signs. My good friend has it and does fine with multiple wine labels as do I… Some wines are cheap and poorly produced, there definitely could be other factors such as the preservatives that were previously mentioned. People with CD should perhaps also take into account how long they’ve had CD and if they take all the proper precautions etc. Some people may have intestinal damage from CD etc. and therefore have a greater sensitivity to ingredients beyond gluten. I’ve noticed I have a harder time with cheaper and sugary wines. I’ve never had issues with Riesling, I’ve no idea why.


  15. What a nightmare! This explains alot though. I take great care but I have never even heard about this conection before. Is this wine red wine sometimes brings on migraines for me?


  16. Hi Tara,

    Here’s a link to a conversation I had with an allergist about red wine, histamines, sulfites and allergies.


  17. I got wickedly sick from Yellowtail Chardonnay…


  18. Are we saying then that perhaps a Celiac’s wine reaction might in fact be a cross allergic reaction to eggs?


  19. After a (celiac) family member had significant distress after two special meals, we finally narrowed the likely offender down to the red wine. I hope vintners start taking this very seriously, as those of us shopping for GF products quickly eliminate those that either aren’t labeled as GF, or are known to cause distress.


  20. In Australia, the definition of Gluten free food is 5ppm. There are a lot of people that react to this small amount, I am one of them. ANY gluten can cause damage and is to be avoided regardless of symptoms.
    I challenge you all to leave the gluten free packaged foods alone and opt for real food.


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