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Today, more than three million people in the United States follow a gluten-free diet. That's not because instances of celiac disease have suddenly skyrocketed (that has actually stayed pretty flat over the past decade, according to research conducted by the Mayo Clinic); rather, 72 percent of those people are considered PWAGS: people without celiac disease avoid gluten. (Just sayin ': Here's Why You Probably Reconsider Your Gluten-Free Diet Unless You Really Need It)
But given the fact that there's been a 25 percent increase in gallons of wine over the past decade, it begs the question: Does wine have gluten in it? After all, a girl's gotta indulge.
Good news: Almost all wine is gluten-free.
The reason why is simple: "Quite simply, there are no grains used in wine production," says Keith Wallace, founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia. "No grains, no gluten." ICYDK, gluten, rye, barley, or contaminated oats, triticale, and wheat varieties such as spelled, kamut, farro, durum, bulgur, and semolina, explains Stephanie Schiff, RDN, of Northwell Health Huntington Hospital. That's why beer-which is made from fermented grains, usually barley-is a no-go on a gluten-free diet. Gluten-free, you're in the clear, she says.
Before You Assume All Wine Is Gluten-Free …
That does not mean celiac sufferers, people with a gluten intolerance, or gluten-free dieters are totally in the clear, though.
There are a few exceptions to the rule: Bottled or canned wine coolers, cooking wines, and flavored wines (like dessert wines) may not be gluten-free. "Cooking wines and wine coolers can be sweetened with any type of sugar, some of which (like maltose) are derived from grains," explains Wallace. "For that reason, they can trace amounts of gluten." Same goes for flavored wines, which may contain gluten.
People who are sensitive to gluten may even have a reaction to some regular wines. That's because "some winemakers may use gluten gluten as a clarifying or fining agent," says Schiff. Fining agents ̵
FYI: Winemakers do not have disclose ingredients on the label, so if you are concerned, your best move is to contact the producer of the wine or drink you like and ask about their product.
Wines can be labeled "gluten-free", though, as long as they gluten-free are not gluten-free (some brands like FitVine Wine) Containing grains and having less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten in compliance with the FDA's requirements, according to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
There's another way to gluten it : If the wooden casks were used with wheat paste. "In my 30 years of experience, I've never heard anyone using such a method," says Wallace. "I think it's exceedingly rare, if done at all." It's not often used at wineries, Wallace adds, for the simple reason that it is not available. "Most of the wine industry now uses non-gluten-based wax substitutes to seal their casks," says Schiff. That said, if you are sensitive to gluten and worried about where your wine is aged, you may want to ask for a wine aged in a stainless steel cask.
from one of these sources, ship says "one that's usually too small to cause a reaction in someone with celiac disease." (Phew.) Still, it always pays to tread carefully if you're dealing with an immune issue or allergy. (Related: Are The Sulfites In Wine Bad For You?)
"You need to read the ingredients on your drink to see if it contains any grain products, and if you're sensitive to gluten, look for a 'certified gluten-free' label to be sure, "says Schiff.
Bottom line: Most wines will be gluten-free, naturally, but if you're worried your vino wants to trigger a reaction, do some research on the brand's website or talk to the wine producer before you raise a glass.