In the short life of this blog, I have already written two posts mentioning wine, so you know my vote!
Seriously speaking, there is some debate in the celiac community about whether some wines are safe for gluten free consumption. It generally centers around whether there is gluten used in sealing the barrels. Some advocates suggest only American wines and cast doubt on European ones. Others purport to be experts in the area without any real knowledge, just repetition of what they have heard and read elsewhere. Without 100% clarity, is it worth taking the risk?
Here’s where I put my big disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nutritionist, winemaker, food expert (professionally, anyway) or in any way certified to advise you about the actual gluten content in any food or drink. I suggest you do your own research and consult your own experts before ingesting or imbibing. (What I am is a lawyer, so I’m infinitely familiar with disclaimers.)
That said, it is ridiculous and unhelpful for me to stay silent on important issues. Whenever possible, my recommendations on this site about the gluten free diet have passed muster with one of the top institutions in the country on the subject. My go-to institutions are Columbia, U. Chicago, Yale and the Mayo Clinic, because I am most familiar with their research and work and in some cases have contacts there (doctors, nurses and/or nutritionists in the celiac field).
Here’s what U. Chicago has on its website about wine:
Can someone with celiac disease drink red wine? I’ve heard that some manufacturers seal their barrels with a gluten-containing ingredient.
We don’t recommend avoiding wine. Wines fermented in barrels lined with wheat paste (historically wines such as port, Madeira and muscatel) have been questionable, yet are unlikely to contain enough gluten to cause a reaction.
Click here for the link.
So celiacs have a few options, as they do with any other food and drink:
1) Figure out which expert to believe,
2) Check each wine individually, and keep double checking as manufacturing and bottling practices may change,
3) Only buy wines labeled gluten free, or
4) Drink water instead.
I do not suggest using your own body as a weathervane!