You have to be careful with a lot of foods and drinks if you have gluten sensitivity. Is wine gluten-free? Should you avoid certain kinds?
Thankfully, most wine is gluten-free wine. It is made using grapes rather than using gluten-containing grains, so there usually isn't any gluten in it. However, some wine contains colors or flavors that contain gluten.
As someone on a low-gluten diet, I still drink wine. I mostly avoid wine coolers, but there are gluten-free varieties. Trace amounts of gluten from things like oak barrels sealed with wheat are probably too minimal to hurt anyone.
Is Wine Gluten Free?
Wine is much more likely to be gluten-free than beer because it isn’t made with gluten-containing grain. The three grains that contain gluten - wheat, barley, and rye - are not usually used to make wine. Most wine is naturally gluten-free.
If you are very sensitive to gluten, wine is not completely safe. Some wines contain or have a chance of containing gluten. You may have to be careful if you have celiac disease and can get an allergic reaction from gluten easily.
Companies are not all that great at labeling items gluten-free. Most wine is gluten-free, not only wine from certified gluten-free brands.
Why is Wine Gluten-Free?
Wine is made from crushed grapes. The grapes are fermented with yeast, which turns them into wine.
Grapes don't contain any gluten. While some yeast has a bit of gluten in it, the kind used to make wine does not. Wine uses the yeast naturally found in grapes.
Why Does Wine Not Have an Ingredients List?
Wine usually doesn't have an ingredient list because winemakers are allowed to keep their ingredients secret.
Is All Wine Naturally Gluten Free?
The wine making process does not involve gluten. Gluten might be intentionally added to wine when a winemaker adds flavors or colors. These flavors/colors might be made from a grain that contains gluten.
Most wines do not contain these ingredients. If you want to make sure, do further research first.
Can Wooden Casks Add Gluten to Wine?
Sometimes, a small amount of gluten might get into wine from wooden casks. Wooden casks might use wheat paste to seal them, and a minimal amount of wheat with gluten might get into the wine.
Probably, the amount of gluten from this source is minuscule. As well, wine might be aged in stainless steel tanks rather than wooden containers, and there are many other ways to seal wooden casks. The amount of gluten in wine from wooden casks may be so low that it will still pass gluten-free certification.
There might be only 5 or 10 parts per million of gluten in this wine. Such a tiny amount is probably safe even for someone who is severely gluten intolerant. They certify a food/drink as gluten-free if it has less than 20 PPM or 10 PPM of gluten because that little is highly unlikely to cause symptoms.
Are Wine Coolers OK on a Gluten-Free Diet?
A lot of the time, wine coolers contain other ingredients that contain gluten. If you have severe gluten insensitivity, you might avoid wine coolers.
If it is less serious, try a few brands and see which ones you can drink without symptoms. You can get wine coolers that are certified gluten-free.
Wine Coolers Contain Barley
Usually, beer rather than wine contain gluten from barley. However, many wine coolers include barley malt. Some popular brands that have barley malt and are definitely not gluten-free include:
- Seagram's Escapes
- Bacardi Silver Malt (not necessarily another Bacardi wine cooler)
- Boone's farm
All kinds of malt beverages are likely to contain gluten.
Is Hard Cider Gluten Free?
Yes, hard cider is likely gluten-free, unless it accidentally contains ingredients with gluten in them. Hard cider is usually made from apples, which have zero gluten.
You can use hard cider as an alternative to wine coolers. Some hard cider is made from other fruits, but fruits do not contain gluten. Sugar, fruit, apples, and yeast (without gluten) are used to make alcoholic cider.
There May Be Gluten in Cider Sometimes
However, some hard cider may contain ingredients with gluten, so it is not always safe. There is no gluten in the regular cider-making process, but additives may contain it.
Trace amounts of gluten might also unintentionally end up in the cider. Equipment that is used to brew beer might also be used for cider, adding a small amount of gluten to it. Perhaps, this won't be enough to affect you even if you have celiac disease, but I am not sure of that.
You might look for a gluten-free label, but most gluten-free cider won't be labeled. You could do further research online or call the company to make sure.
Apple Ale is not Apple Cider
Apple ale is not the same thing as apple cider and is much more likely to contain gluten. Apple ale is apple-flavored beer, not apple cider. Beer is often high in gluten.
What if Wine Gives You Symptoms?
If wine upsets your stomach the way wheat does, there may be some gluten in it. There could be additives or accidental contamination. Look for wine with a gluten-free label.
Sometimes, something other than gluten intolerance might be the problem. Someone with gluten intolerance might have irritable bowel syndrome or some other digestive issue.
How Do They Define Gluten-Free?
A product is gluten-free if it contains only a trace amount of gluten. If tests show that the product has less than 20 parts per million of gluten, it gets gluten-free certification.
Less than 20 PPM doesn't necessarily mean no detectable gluten at all. However, even with celiac disease, such a tiny amount won't affect you.
You can trust products labeled gluten-free. However, you cannot always trust products that are said to be gluten-free or that don't contain any ingredients that obviously have gluten. For example, some wheat may accidentally end up in a bag of corn and end up in food made from corn.
Are Other Types of Wine Gluten Free?
Most natural wines are gluten-free products. However, gluten-containing substances can get into wine if color and flavor transfer occurs.
Many popular wines such as cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, pinot noir, etc, are gluten-free. White wines and sparkling wines do not contain gluten.
Be careful with mixed products of all kinds. Wine cocktails and fruity malt beverages may contain gluten. If you like flavored wines, look for gluten-free labeling.
What Are Fining Agents?
Fining agents are used when making wine. They make the wine as clear and free of particles as possible. Sometimes, wheat gluten is used in this fining process.
While the fining agents are usually removed from the wine, some of it may remain. Despite these possibilities, wine is typically gluten-free.
What Other Alcoholic Drinks Are Gluten-Free?
You can easily still drink alcohol on a gluten-free diet and won't have to go out of your way to find gluten-free drinks. Many other drinks besides wine are made with gluten-free ingredients. Vodka, brandy, rum, and tequila are all free of gluten.
About THE AUTHOR
I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.Read More About Mark Walker