Whether you're going on a wine tasting, enjoying a good cheese board with a friend or just kicking it back with a glass after a long day of work, wine often goes hand-in-hand with a good night.
And those following a gluten-free diet can take a sip, too. Unlike liquor, wine is fermented, not distilled, so there's no filtration of gluten grains. Nearly all wine is made of fermented grapes — not wheat, rye or barley grains — so it's naturally gluten-free, says Shena Jaramillo, RD.
But while most types of wine are naturally gluten-free, that doesn't mean every bottle is safe. It's always possible to experience a gluten-related reaction to distilled alcohol even though there technically isn't any gluten in the final product — however, this is usually due to added ingredients, Jaramillo explains (more on that below).
Read on to learn which wines get the gluten-free green light and which to keep out of your glass.
Red wine is made with fermented grapes, which are naturally gluten-free, according to Beyond Celiac.
However, after fermentation, red wine undergoes a process called fining, which is used to clarify the alcohol. During the fining process, ingredients can be added to the final product, some of which may contain gluten.
While this can be potentially unsafe for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, researchers of a 2011 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found very little (if any) gluten content in the final product.
With all wines (and products in general), you always want to check the ingredient label, as non-gluten-free ingredients may be added after the wine is finished fermenting, Jaramillo says. Recipes vary from company to company. So, play it safe and always check the ingredient list or look for an FDA-regulated Gluten-Free label on the bottle.
Just like red wine, white wine is usually gluten-free as well, according to Beyond Celiac.
Made from naturally gluten-free grapes, white wine may also undergo a fining process before the final product is bottled and sold. Nevertheless, even after this procedure is complete, you can usually buy a bottle of white wine with confidence.
In some cases, white wine (along with other types of wine) may be stored in barrels sealed with wheat paste, which has raised concerns in the past. Luckily, the wheat content in these barrels likely doesn't contain enough gluten to cause a reaction, according to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center.
At the store, always keep an eye out for any added ingredients in the white wine you buy. Look for a Gluten-Free label on the bottle if you want to be even more certain there's no gluten lurking in your wine.
Like white and red wine, rose wine is made of fermented grapes, usually free of gluten and grains. However, specialty flavored rose bottles may contain malt, a type of grain that contains gluten.
Unfortunately, most wine bottles in the U.S. aren't sold with an ingredient list, says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD and author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You from Label to Table.
So, it's safest to look for a Gluten-Free label on the bottle, Taub-Dix suggests. These bottles will comply with FDA regulations, guaranteeing they're safe to drink, according to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine
Despite their carbonatation, champagne and sparkling wine aren't too different from standard wine.
Like all types of wine, sparkling wine is made by fermenting grapes; however, the alcohol is bottled specially to trap carbon dioxide gas in the bottle, which is how the wine gets its carbonation.
As no gluten-based ingredients are added in the champagne-making process, the beverage is generally safe to drink. Again, though, it's best to look for a gluten-free label, as some specialty sparkling wines and wine coolers may have added gluten ingredients, according to Beyond Celiac.
The Bottom Line
Generally, most wines are gluten-free and safe to drink on a GF diet. If you still have concerns, reach for a bottle with a Gluten-Free label.
Gluten-Free Wines We Love
- Beyond Celiac: "Is Wine Gluten-Free?"
- FDA: "Gluten and Food Labeling"
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: "Immunochemical and Mass Spectrometry Detection of Residual Proteins in Gluten Fined Red Wine"
- University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center: "Wheat Paste"
- Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau: "Use of "Gluten‐Free" on TTB‐Regulated Alcohol Beverages"