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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

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Wine Barrels Sealed With Flour Paste
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I recently reacted to a wine too. This kind of information is very helpful. Instead of having to give up on wine completely, I can know what questions to ask to try to find a wine that will be safe for me to drink. Thank you

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I'll second your observation about Columbia-Crest.

My experience was with Grand Estates Chardonnay 2009, and the GI symptoms are undeniable.

I've been symptom-free for about six months until last evening. Bummer.

Thanks for doing the research by contacting the company, your efforts have shortened my

source identification time to about 24 hours and I can pour out the bottle.

From the back label:

"Incorporating the practice of Batonnage (the process of hand-stirring wine barrels) with this

Chardonnay enhances the rich, buttery characteristic and compliments the soft oak notes and ripe tropical fruit flavors - Ray Einberger, Winemaker"

I'm thinking Ray had a sandwich for lunch before "hand stirring".

Thanks a heap there, Ray.

I received this from Columbia Crest, because, although it never makes me sick and I am very careful with my diet, I have had some skin and neurological symptoms that have made me wonder about Columbia Crest. I had believed that California wine was mostly safe. And maybe it is, but those casks are sealed with flour, more often than not, from my research. Anyway, the email:

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I'm thinking Ray had a sandwich for lunch before "hand stirring".

Thanks a heap there, Ray.

Methinks the "hand stirring" referred to here was stirring with a spoon or some such hand-held instrument, rather than 'mechanically'. They would not be wanting to introduce anything into the wine at this point.

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Here's a video showing how flour paste is used during the making of oak barrels. Judge for yourself how comfortable you are with this (considering most of us have thrown out our wood cutting boards and spoons). Gluten makes its appearance at 6:34:

vimeo

Also, here's a report measuring gluten in "gluten-fined" wine. I didn't even realize they ever use gluten to fine wine. I always contact wineries to make sure they're not using casein, and I haven't even been asking about gluten:

pubmed

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This question keeps coming up here.

If this is an issue, why do NONE of the major advocacy groups list it as a concern? The Canadian Celiac Association declares wine to be gluten-free, without qualification. Every other large support organization has the same view. What do you know that they don't?

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my brother recently told me that a gal he dated is celiac and cannot drink red wine because the wine barrels are sealed with flour paste -

I inquired of a friend who manages a winery - this is her response, after questioning her wine maker:

Apparently it's common practice to seal the barrel heads with flour paste. It's a mixture of unbleached flour and distilled water used to assure a leak-proof seal. Here's the web site with more info

http://www.stavin.com/barrelsystems/insert.htm

Does anyone have additional information on this topic ??????

Thank you.

I drink fish eye cab often and never had any gluten reactions. I've emailed them and they confirmed there is no gluten. I'm sensitive also!

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This question keeps coming up here.

If this is an issue, why do NONE of the major advocacy groups list it as a concern? The Canadian Celiac Association declares wine to be gluten-free, without qualification. Every other large support organization has the same view. What do you know that they don't?

Honestly Peter, I think that's an unfair response. In most situations, it's perfectly safe to say 'Hey, the experts don't say it's a problem, we're good'. But none of the people running those organizations are perfect, and a great deal of the information we get as Celiacs is directly from the anecdotal reporting of the members of this board. Blowing off repeated reports of issues with this wine thing in favor of 'the big men don't say it's a problem' really isn't fair to the people who are reporting reactions. We need to be able to come here and say something made us sick, safely.

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Honestly Peter, I think that's an unfair response. In most situations, it's perfectly safe to say 'Hey, the experts don't say it's a problem, we're good'. But none of the people running those organizations are perfect, and a great deal of the information we get as Celiacs is directly from the anecdotal reporting of the members of this board. Blowing off repeated reports of issues with this wine thing in favor of 'the big men don't say it's a problem' really isn't fair to the people who are reporting reactions. We need to be able to come here and say something made us sick, safely.

Peter's response was correct and that's what we aim for here on this forum.....not continuing inaccurate information which states there is gluten in wine from flour paste used to seal barrels. I have yet to run into any reputable vineyard that does this and I drink enough red wine to kill a Celiac if there were any gluten in red wine. :o

Alcohol is harsh on the GI tract and many people cannot drink alcohol without having problems. I used to be like that until I healed my gut. Now, alcohol, at least red wine, is not a problem and I am an extremely sensitive, diagnosed Celiac. Reactions can come from many reasons so saying that there is gluten in wine because someone, somewhere has a reaction is not good science and not very accurate. The vast majority of Celiacs drink wine with zero problems so logic would have it that it is safe, from a gluten point of view......plus the other reasons Peter stated.

People are always welcome to report a bad experience with something they ingest as it's a way of educating yourself. But no one, from any reputable Celiac organization to the experiences of thousands of Celiacs, report problems with wine or state that wine is unsafe from a gluten point of view, so how much more convincing do people need to understand that? If wine bothers you, don't drink it but don't claim there is wine in gluten when alcohol is such a GI irritant to begin with.

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I will repeat myself. We need to be able to come here and report something made us sick, safely, without being blown off. I have lost count of the number of people who have reported a gluten reaction to wine, and they deserve better than to have the 'experts' on this board tell them they are imagining it.

Everyone reading can see both sides of the issue. Everyone reading can see that wine is not a problem for most Celiacs, and decide for themselves.

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Also, am I alone in noticing that this thread alone has more than one legitimate reference to wheat flour being used to paste barrels shut, and that it is a common practice according to a number of winemakers? Boutique winemakers, yes, but come on. Tell me another instance where we would unquestioningly accept the use of wheat flour paste to seal the container our food or drink is in? I myself saw this on the Discovery Channel. Is that not a legitimate enough report to at least cause a little openness, a little awareness?

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I will repeat myself. We need to be able to come here and report something made us sick, safely, without being blown off. I have lost count of the number of people who have reported a gluten reaction to wine, and they deserve better than to have the 'experts' on this board tell them they are imagining it.

Everyone reading can see both sides of the issue. Everyone reading can see that wine is not a problem for most Celiacs, and decide for themselves.

Bottom line, if it bothers you - don't drink it. If you are super sensitive, or early in the gluten-free process, you might want to avoid drinking in general, or at least some of the wines others have had issue with. You can test specifics for yourself, when you're up for it.

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I will repeat myself. We need to be able to come here and report something made us sick, safely, without being blown off. I have lost count of the number of people who have reported a gluten reaction to wine, and they deserve better than to have the 'experts' on this board tell them they are imagining it.

Everyone reading can see both sides of the issue. Everyone reading can see that wine is not a problem for most Celiacs, and decide for themselves.

You have the ability to come here and relate your experiences and no one has ever said you couldn't. No one is blowing anyone off or implying that their reactions are imaginary. However, it is prudent to remind people that wine has never been listed, on any reputable Celiac website that I have looked at over the past 7 1/2 years, as a forbidden drink or one that needs to be investigated for safety reasons for gluten content. As has been stated about a million times on this forum but obviously needs to be reinforced, people can have reactions to just about anything, for reasons other than gluten. It is irresponsible to state there is gluten in wine when no one has come up with a reputable shred of evidence to support their claim, not to mention that if this was such a big worry or issue, then many more of us "sensitive" Celiac's would be getting sick from the wine. We aren't so that tends to create a lot of doubt......very reasonable doubt. Newbies also need to know, without any shred of doubt, that a reaction is not always caused by gluten and it could be for a number of different reasons, including needing more healing time. They needn't be overly concerned that wine could possibly be a worry for us.

If you are that worried about it, then don't drink the wine.

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Also, am I alone in noticing that this thread alone has more than one legitimate reference to wheat flour being used to paste barrels shut, and that it is a common practice according to a number of winemakers? Boutique winemakers, yes, but come on. Tell me another instance where we would unquestioningly accept the use of wheat flour paste to seal the container our food or drink is in? I myself saw this on the Discovery Channel. Is that not a legitimate enough report to at least cause a little openness, a little awareness?

Awareness is good but unnecessary fear is something else. At least from what I have learned from visiting vineyards in the US for wine tastings, it's not an issue in the States. This sounds like a pretty old technique and it still may be used in other parts of the world, like France maybe, but for US wines and those from S. America, I have not heard of this technique being used. I did some homework on it and never found anything in my part of the world to suggest it was true.

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This question keeps coming up here.

If this is an issue, why do NONE of the major advocacy groups list it as a concern? The Canadian Celiac Association declares wine to be gluten-free, without qualification. Every other large support organization has the same view. What do you know that they don't?

While I understand the desire not to spread misinformation and have people scared of perfectly safe foods, I think this post is incorrect on several levels.

First, as another poster has mentioned, it's important to have a place where anecdotal reports can be posted. Some anecdotal reports are better than others, but some of the people reporting reactions in this thread sound very believable.

Second, we have definite, factual reports that some wineries use gluten paste to seal oak barrels, and to clarify wines. Not all wineries do this, and not as many US wineries as French wineries, but there are plenty of French wines in my neighborhood liquor store, and not all US wineries' processes are gluten-free, so it seems relevant.

Third, I think the major celiac organizations tend to be fairly slow-moving with regard to their policy. You ask, "What do you know that they don't?"-- but perhaps the question should be, "What do they know that a person who scours boards such as these and collates known cross-contamination risks with published science and anecdotal reports doesn't?".

Fourth, you note that "the Canadian Celiac Association declares wine to be gluten-free, without qualification". I can find a report of this from their handbook as of 1992-1993, but nothing on the topic since then. I'm sure our understanding of this issue has advanced considerably in 20 years. Perhaps there's some newer publication I've missed, however.

The bottom line for me is that it's entirely reasonable to be talking about wine and gluten. Reasonable people can have reasonable concerns on the issue, and perhaps we can figure out clear risk factors and patterns.

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While I understand the desire not to spread misinformation and have people scared of perfectly safe foods, I think this post is incorrect on several levels.

First, as another poster has mentioned, it's important to have a place where anecdotal reports can be posted. Some anecdotal reports are better than others, but some of the people reporting reactions in this thread sound very believable.

Second, we have definite, factual reports that some wineries use gluten paste to seal oak barrels, and to clarify wines. Not all wineries do this, and not as many US wineries as French wineries, but there are plenty of French wines in my neighborhood liquor store, and not all US wineries' processes are gluten-free, so it seems relevant.

Third, I think the major celiac organizations tend to be fairly slow-moving with regard to their policy. You ask, "What do you know that they don't?"-- but perhaps the question should be, "What do they know that a person who scours boards such as these and collates known cross-contamination risks with published science and anecdotal reports doesn't?".

Fourth, you note that "the Canadian Celiac Association declares wine to be gluten-free, without qualification". I can find a report of this from their handbook as of 1992-1993, but nothing on the topic since then. I'm sure our understanding of this issue has advanced considerably in 20 years. Perhaps there's some newer publication I've missed, however.

The bottom line for me is that it's entirely reasonable to be talking about wine and gluten. Reasonable people can have reasonable concerns on the issue, and perhaps we can figure out clear risk factors and patterns.

Rather than bringing up a buried thread, this was posted today:

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Fourth, you note that "the Canadian Celiac Association declares wine to be gluten-free, without qualification". I can find a report of this from their handbook as of 1992-1993, but nothing on the topic since then. I'm sure our understanding of this issue has advanced considerably in 20 years. Perhaps there's some newer publication I've missed, however.

I will respond to this point as a start. The Canadian Celiac Association Pocket Dictionary: Acceptability of Foods & Food Ingredients for the Gluten-Free Diet, Click, says:

WINE ... A beverage made by the fermentation of the juice from grapes ... ALLOWED

This publication is ISBN 0-921026-21-8 and was published in 2005.

Do you have a more recent study? Maybe one that tests the wine and shows positive for gluten?

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