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June 14, 2013

Gluten and Cross Contamination in Wine?



So this is a topic I have recently come across but of course (Since I'm 16) have never really had to worry about. If some of the occasional effects you may be having from wine involve headaches, an upset stomach, or extreme fatigue, then it may be more than just the wine. After coming across this article I discovered that cross contamination in wine is actually a possible scenario and is something you should all be considering. Of course if you're under 21 like me, you're fine...but if you're over 21, you should really look into this more.


The cross-contamination process:
The worry of cross contamination when it comes to wine is actually much different to what those fear from beer. Beer is often not gluten-free since it can be derived from wheat, malt, barley, and many other gluten filled ingredients. But unlike beer, wine is fermented from fruit and is made in a completely different process. So where is the cross contamination coming from?

It really is astonishing to me but the cross contamination in wine is actually coming from the barrels they are stored in. Wine companies are buying old and reused oak barrels which are lined with wheat paste making cross contamination very likely. Since the wine is sitting in these wheat paste lined barrels for a long amount of time, it is very possible it can get mixed in the wine while distributed.

Also, the barrels reused to store the wine could in some cases be previously used for wheat or oats. Again this would make cross contamination a possibility since the wine is being stored in these barrels for a long amount of time and is going through fermentation in an environment where wheat or oats previously was stored. These are all things to consider when thinking about wine and their process, but to confirm some of this there is a statement made below.


Here is a statement on the matter from a major alcoholic beverage company, Constellation Brands: (This is an email sent from the corporation to Laurie of www.mygfgirlfriend.com)

"Dear Laurie, 
Thank you for taking the time to contact us at CONSTELLATION BRANDS Consumer Relations. We appreciate hearing from you. 
Our main objective is to produce quality products that satisfy our customers. We are pleased that you find CONSTELLATION BRANDS enjoyable. 
We purchase our barrels from many different cooperages. As a result, some of our barrels may have been sealed with wheat paste. Where one’s health is of a concern, we always recommend that you consult with your physician. 
Customers like you are certainly a pleasure and we thank you for your support. We appreciate your business and look forward to serving you as a valued customer. 
 Sincerely,               
[AGENT_NAME] "

Really after reading this I didn't know what to think. Even though I don't have to worry about alcohol, it is very scary to think that there are some in the gluten-free community that may be drinking wine, getting sick, and continuously not knowing why. This is a very serious issue and is something that many of you need to be made aware of. Other than Constellation Brands, I am not sure which companies may or may not store their wine in barrels lined with wheat paste.




I'm sure there really are a lot of things to consider when choosing alcohol, especially when it comes to beer since it is usually not gluten-free. But worrying about wine is one I don't think many people have thought about before. I would strongly encourage being more aware of the things you drink and would possibly recommend avoiding wine from this company in general. If you feel that the wine you are drinking is giving you some celiac like symptoms, then it may be important to find another brand or research into that brand more. 


Disclaimer: Even though I wrote this article on alcohol, I do not drink wine or alcohol... I'm 16.

6 comments:

Laurie Clark said...

Hi Taylor,
I think it is awesome that my article inspired you to write your own blog post on the subject. Thanks for the mentions and links to my site. I am really excited to see this information spread to more people. Your blog is amazing by the way. I read it daily. Keep up the great work.
Laurie www.mygfgirlfriend.com

Taylor Miller said...

Thanks for taking the time to call the manufactures and for your post! Glad I could share it with other and make more aware. Appreciate the kind comments and thanks again!

Amanda on Maui said...

Oh no! Black Box is one we've been having around here for a long while. We used to drink Ravenswood, and Clos duBois is so common. Shoot. Well, I can't really drink with my new medication anyway, but we've still got Black Box in the house for my guy.

Taylor Miller said...

Hopefully it hasn't been giving you problems. At least you know now though so better late than never!

Anonymous said...

I find this a very interesting corporate response. I only say that after spending time in Napa and talking to the wine makers at the different wineries and their response was much different. Many no longer use the wheat paste for their barrels the ones that did were using it on the hole that the wine was siphoned out, which would touch the wine...

JennaB28 said...

Thank you Taylor, seriously. Recently officially diagnosed with Celiac (although sick for 3 years now - you know how long that process takes..ugh), I only drink wine. Never would have thought of wine. Malabsorption is bad so may have to get IV nutrients next week due to all of the years of damage, chronic fatigue blows:/ Thought I should mention in here that I read that lipsticks and lip gloss are 2 I wasn't expecting (likely other cosmetics). Another arena to examine. Lovely!

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