Isn’t Gluten Free Wine Just Wine?

Though only 1% of the American population (and 20-30% of the world) has celiac disease, many have decided that gluten doesn’t agree with their body and endeavor to cut it out. So as numerous products have begun boasting their gluten-free status, one might notice that wineries don’t go out of their way to share this information. Why? Because wine is already categorized as a gluten-free product.

There are really only two scenarios in which a wine might not be completely gluten free, and even in those situations the gluten imparted on the wine is negligible and shouldn’t be an issue. In one of those scenarios, the gluten is coming from the barrel and, in the other, it is coming from a fining agent. Some flavored wines and wine coolers have reportedly more detectable gluten, so it is perhaps best to avoid those if you have a gluten sensitivity.

Regarding the fining agent, winemakers have mostly moved away from using gluten-rich fining agents and the very nature of fining agents is that they are removed from wine. So, in theory, no more than trace amounts should remain. If you are concerned about a gluten-rich fining agent, you can always contact the winery and ask or look for wines that haven’t been fined at all.

If a wine barrel is sealed with a wheat paste, a small amount of gluten could make its way into the wine. A lot of barrels are now sealed with wax-based sealants to avoid this. However, wine with a lot of time in new oak has tested about 5 or 10 parts per million of gluten, which is below the threshold to be considered gluten free (20ppm), but is still detectable and could still cause a reaction to those who are particularly sensitive.

If you want to be completely confident that your wine is gluten-free, look for wines fermented, aged and stored in stainless steel wine barrels and tanks. There’s no wheat or wax-based sealants involved in stainless steel wine barrels like the ones manufactured by Skolnik.

The good news is that wine is considered naturally gluten-free so there are loads of options for those with celiac or a gluten sensitivity to enjoy!