I flippin’ knew it! Even though we know wine is made from grapes, several of us react to it. I have looked into why and this can mostly be because the wine is aged in ex-grain spirit barrels and those barrels can be sealed with wheat paste. Great.
NOW we find out that gluten is being touted as a new fining agent to stop wine going cloudy. This is to avoid people reacting to current allergens used in the fining process – egg, milk protein and fish bladders (yum). Are they mad? Do they not realise that wheat/gluten is potentially even more of a problem? The mind truly boggles: why replace one allergen with another one? Bentonite clay is a good fining agent and, as far as I know, does not pose an allergy problem so why not just use that?
A recent study I read about in Foods Matter has shown that using gluten as a fining agent could indeed cause problems for gluten sensitives – as if we needed a study to tell us that. For the first time, they used two antibodies and more sensitive procedures to do the testing and found a positive antibody result in the blood of gluten sufferers. Previous tests have not shown this, so this goes to illustrate why we cannot rely on the usual gluten testing – it is simply too complex. If gluten has been used in something, we just should not touch it. The difficulty, of course, is in knowing if gluten has been used as a fining agent. Drinks, to my knowledge, do not have to be labelled with the 12 top allergens as foods do.
Another example of manufacturers making life harder as usual. Aargh…!