I learned something new at the Gluten & Allergy Free Expo last weekend and it is something I think you should know about. It was an odd discovery, made on the second day of the Expo while wandering through the last half of the vendor section. I saw a couple of vintners. Why would a wine company pay to have a table at a gluten free expo? I felt the need to find out so I approached the Siduri Wines table. After speaking to Catherine, a gluten free employee at Siduri Wines, I learned there was more to this then a quick explanation. We decided it would be best if I interview one of the owners of Siduri, Adam Lee.
Now I know this is a blog dedicated to dining out gluten free, but many people who are gluten free drink wine when they dine out, including yours truly. I feel it is important to know all potential sources of gluten contamination when dining out.”
Siduri Wines was founded on a dream that Adam and Diane both shared. Their love of fine pinot. Adam and Dianna decided to take a gamble by relocating from Austin, Texas to the Sonoma County wine country. They spent several years working at small, family owned wineries, learning as much as they could about the wine making process. In 1994 they launched Siduri Wines. Their first release yielded only 107 cases of wine. Today, Siduri Wines has grown to release 20,000 cases of wine annually.
As I mentioned earlier, one of Siduri’s employees has a gluten allergy. Adam told me this really opened his eyes to the potential gluten issues. He felt this could be a big factor because so many people were discovering they couldn’t tolerate gluten. After research, Adam discovered many oak wine barrels are sealed with a flour paste. The flour paste seals the croze, or the groove in which the barrel head rests. It doesn’t matter where the barrels are manufactured, Hungary, France, or America. Using a flour paste seemed to be a standard practice in making these wine barrels. Adam recalls looking in barrels, some clean inside, and others with caked on flour paste. Every wine barrel used at Siduri Wines is washed thoroughly and sanitized before it is used to remove this flour paste. Some vintners are turning to using wax to seal the croze, a few other are now moving towards steel barrels.
Siduri Wines is one of the few wine makers to have all of their wines tested for gluten. They use a wine analysis company called ETS Labs. ETS Labs uses an ELISA test to determine if there is gluten in the wine. The cost to test their wines for gluten is minimal and the return, the peace of mind, is worth it to Adam and Dianna. Adam was also happy to say that none of Siduri’s wines have ever tested positive for containing gluten.
Another wonderful thing about Siduri Wines is that they are vegan. Many wines are refined with products containing animal products. These finishing products (Isenglass and egg whites) pull the wine solids to the bottom of the barrel. These finishes don’t affect the flavor of the wine. All of Siduri’s wines are both unfiltered and unfined which helps retain the character of each vineyard site in which they obtain their grapes. You can read more about Siduri Wines specialized wine making process here.
If you want to try Siduri Wines, and believe me, these stand out as some of the best pinots I have tried, you can find them in wine stores around the country, via their wine club, or by appointment daily at their vineyard from 11:30 to 4:30. Their wines range from $20 to $55 per bottle.
981-E Airway Ct
Santa Rosa, CA
**Want to learn more about gluten and the wine barrel process? There is a great article in Wine Spectator that goes into more depth about gluten in wine barrels that you can read here.