A gluten free diet means missing out on some of the good things in life. But, does it mean you have to cut out wine? Wine is made from fermented grapes which don’t include gluten. But, some winemakers do add other ingredients during the winemaking process. And, this could result in a wine containing traces of gluten.
If you’re concerned about traces of gluten being found in a wine, you would be better off looking for a gluten free wine brand. These wines have been approved as safe to drink by gluten intolerance wine drinkers around the world. But, before we list the best gluten free wine brands, read on to find out more about wine and gluten contamination.
What You Need to Know About Gluten Free Wine
The FDA regulations state a food product is gluten free when it’s below 20 parts per million (ppm). The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau have used the FDA guidelines to allow for “gluten free” labeling on any alcoholic beverages as long as they meet this requirement. The Gluten Free Certification Organization will certify any food product with a gluten level below 10ppm.
While wine is naturally made with red and white grapes, some byproducts may be added during or after fermentation. These substances are used to clarify the wine, also known as fining. However, the final product of these wines, including those aged in oak barrels, will have a gluten content of well below 5ppm, making them safe for people with celiac disease.
Winemakers may also add flavoring or coloring agents to the drink especially if they’re producing wine coolers or dessert wines. These drinks should be avoided if you’re gluten intolerant and you can rather stick with naturally made wine.
Most wines, including sparkling wine and champagne made in France, are considered gluten free, meeting the FDA requirements. And, if a byproduct has been used, the winemaker needs to ensure that all possible gluten contamination has been removed in the final product for it to be recognized as a gluten free wine.
Best Gluten Free Wine Brands
1. Cupcake Vineyards
Cupcake Vineyards’ winemaker, Jessica Tomei, ensures every bottle of wine produced by this vineyard is enjoyed by all! Her approach to bottling complex and premium wines includes producing decadent reds, delicious whites, and bubbly wines. Based in California, this vineyard proudly states they don’t use any wheat, rye or barley in their wines, making them gluten free.
Try their crisp, vibrant Sauvignon Blanc made with grapes sourced from the South Islands of New Zealand. Or, if reds are more your scene, you’ll enjoy their decadent Pinot Noir from California’s central coast. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, enjoy a bottle of the vineyard’s sparkling rose wine. The grapes are sourced from Italy and have been fermented in stainless steel tanks.
2. Frey Vineyards
Another vineyard found in California, Frey organic wines are both vegan and gluten free. Their website clearly states that no gluten-based fining agents are used in their wines. Winemakers at Frey Vineyards only use a naturally-occurring earth clay substance, also known as bentonite, to clarify their wines. What’s more, their red wines are not fined.
Enjoy a glass of Frey Vineyards’ Biodynamic Cabernet Sauvignon or Organic Sangiovese if you’re looking for a gluten free red wine. If a crisp, light, honey-tasting white wine is more your scene, you’ll love the vineyard’s Kwaya Organic Chardonnay or the Pinot Gris for brighter flavors.
3. Inkarri Wines
Based in Argentina, the Inkarri brand is made by Proviva Winery. The winemakers go out of their way to produce some of the best organic wines on the market. They use organic and biodynamic agriculture methods to guarantee their wines are authentic. This also means no byproducts are added to the wines before or after fermentation, that’s not natural.
The Inkarri SoPure Red Blend is made with organically grown grapes and fermentation is done with natural yeast. No fining, filtration or sulfites are added, giving you a natural wine to enjoy. The Inkarri Malbec wines are also popular, earning rave reports by wine enthusiast. If you’re looking for a delicious bubbly, Inkarri Brut Sparkling Wine is highly rated.
4. Koyle Family Vineyards (Top Gluten Free Red Wine)
For red wine lovers who want to avoid facing any upsets caused by a gluten intolerant reaction, Koyle Family Vineyards is your solution. This family’s wine estate is found at the foot of the Andes Mountains and they follow the principles of biodynamic farming. The red grape varieties are harvested by hand and fermented with “wild yeast.”
While aged in French oak barrels, you can rest assured there’s no gluten contamination with this organically produced wine. The Koyle Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon is a decadent blend of organic Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Petit Verdot grape varietals resulting in powerful flavors resembling dark chocolate and fruits. The Koyle Royale Syrah is also produced with organically grown grapes and have deep aromas of dark raspberries. Delicious!
5. Pizzolato Wines
Situated outside of Florence, Italy, the wine estate of Pizzolato Wines produces the country’s number one organic wine. The winemaking family have been producing wines for five generations and have been awarded the USDA organic certification. All their wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks, assuring you they’re completely gluten free.
Pizzolato’s Prosecco is one of the most favorite white wines enjoyed by Italian and other global drinkers. Another popular white wine from this estate is the Pizzolato Pinot Grigio with its straw green color and golden apple flavors. The Pizzolato Merlot is a hit among red wine drinkers with no sulfites added and aromatic, spicy tones.
6. Lorenz Winery
The Lorenz family have been making wines since 1725! This German wine estate, found in the heart of Rheinhessen, also produces fine organic wines. The aging processes of all their wines are done in stainless steel tanks, assuring you that no wheat paste is used to seal the containers.
The Lorenz family’s Riesling-Trocken is a delicious, fresh white wine made from grapes left to grow wild on the vines. This dry medium wine has crispy apple aromas combined with hints of nectarine and almond. The Lorentz Dornfelder is a red wine enjoyed for its ruby color, aromas and flavors of dark chocolate and rich berries.
7. Bodegas Iranzo
If you enjoy Spanish wines and you’re looking for a gluten free option, try the wine produced by Bodegas Iranzo winery. This estate is located near Valencia and was one of the first wineries to produce organic wines. They use grape varietals such as Tempranillo, Bobal, and Spanish Cabernet. No sulfites are added to the red wines.
The brand’s Spartico Tempranillo/Cabernet red wine undergoes no oak aging and should be drunk while still young. This is a well-balanced and popular Spanish wine for lovers of reds. The Nina Bonita is the winemaker’s organic Spanish sangria and is made using strict organic standards. No preservatives are added while coloring and sweetening is obtained using must from organic production.
8. Biokult Wineries
It’s not often one finds an Austrian wine estate producing organic wines but Biokult is an exception. Based in Pamhagen, Biokult is a group of vintners who are serious about producing top-quality organic wines. While ensuring all their vineyards are grown in organic soils, the winemakers also use the natural way of making wines in their cellars. This means only using natural yeasts, stainless steel, and neutral wooden tanks.
The Biokult Gruner Veltliner white wine is made with 100% organically grown Gruner Veltliner varietals. The fermentation process takes place in stainless steel tanks for around seven months. The Biokult Zweigelt Rose is a natural wine produced in steel tanks with 100% organic Zweigelt grape varietals. The winery also produces a gluten free red wine blend.
9. Chateau Beaubois
A French wine estate covering over 60 hectares in the Southern Rhone Valley, Chateau Beaubois is run by a sister and brother winemaking team. They’ve been producing organic wines since 2009 and also follow the biodynamic farming principles. While aging takes place in oak barrels, finishing off in cement tanks, the winery follows stringent gluten free practices.
The winery’s Denim by Beaubois is a deep red wine with hints of purple. With spicy aromas and notes of black and red berries, red wine lovers will love this drink aged in oak barrels. The brand’s Curvee Expression White is made with a blend of 100% organically grown white grape varietals. This sugar free wine (<0.8g/L RS) is fermented with indigenous yeasts and has a fresh, crisp taste.
What to Look for When Picking a Gluten Free Wine
When picking a good-quality gluten free wine, you may not always find a label indicating the full contents of the product. Winemakers who are proud of producing organic wines will advertise this fact. But, organic and gluten free don’t mean the same thing so always make sure your organic wine is still considered gluten free.
When finding out if your wine is gluten free, consider the following factors:
- Fining agent: Wheat gluten is often used in fining agents and while it leaves only minute traces of gluten in the wine, it can cause serious problems for celiac disease sufferers. Gluten free wine should only use fining agents made with either bentonite clay or pea protein. Winemakers of gluten free wines may also opt to use no fining agents.
- Aging process: Wheat paste is sometimes used to seal oak barrels and this can leave trace gluten amounts in the finished wine. However, more winemakers are ensuring no gluten based products are used in their oak barrels and some are even opting to use steel tanks for the aging process.
- Cross contact: Winemakers claiming their wines are gluten free need to ensure that all ingredients used in the wine making process have had no cross contact with a gluten product. This includes yeast, additives and storage materials.
There are many wineries producing gluten free wine worldwide. The winemakers are using biodynamic agriculture methods, indigenous yeasts, gluten free fining agents, and steel tanks to prevent contamination. Use our list of wineries to help you find one of the best gluten free wines on the market and ask questions if you’re not sure.