Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Is There Lactose in Wine?

I don't get too many questions these days that stump me, but one asking whether lactose was used as a fining agent in wine made me blink.

Fining agent? What's that?

Some Googling told me that fining agents are substances added to wine to bond to particles that can affect a wine's color, flavor, and stability. The particles and fining agent sink to the bottom of the container and can be easily removed from the wine.

A million different fining agents are used by various people and for various reasons. However, lactose doesn't seem to be one of them.

That's the good news.

Some people do use the milk protein casein as a fining agent, however. Technically, since casein doesn't dissolve well in water, they used it in the form of potassium or sodium caseinate. But as I explain in my The Experts Speak page, neither caseinate contains lactose.

And not even those with milk allergies should worry. The European Union has recently declared that the use of casein as a fining agent presents such a low risk that it need not be mentioned even under their new, stricter allergen labeling laws. Whey used in distillates for spirits does not need to be mentioned either. The bureaucratic details are available in this pdf.

Vegans do consider this an animal-based item, however. There are vegan wines guaranteed not to use animal-derived products available and are easily found online.

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Anonymous said...

Another one for you - does the use of lactose as a sweetener (ie non fermentable) in wine cause a similar problem?

So cheap French sweet wines might be off the list!

Anonymous said...

Wine invariably contains malic acid which converts to lactose during fermentation. Thus, there is lactose to be found in wine, though it's not of animal origin.

Steve Carper said...

No, sorry. Malic acid converts to lactic acid, which is a totally different thing and of no concern to those with lactose intolerance.

Anonymous said...

i seem to getting a strong reaction similar to reacting to lactose when i drink an australian reisling wine(yalumba) the label says it contains milk products. which i read after I drank it

Steve Carper said...

Were any milk products specifically mentioned? If so, which ones?

Anonymous said...

I contacted yalumba, they said they were fining the wine with milk power, so it is quite possible that there was lactose in the wine, in there defence next year they said they are going vegan with there wines

Anonymous said...

I drank two glasses of the Australian 'Willing Participant's Pinot Noir and hives started forming last night have woken up with red swollen eyes, I look as though I've been punched.
I am wheat and severely lactose intolerant. I didn't know that milk was used in the process of making wine, but this is a bad reaction for me, though I don't get this from all wines.
Nothing on the label reports on any allergens so I cannot be 100% but it is the only 'new thing' I consumed last night.
I wish they would label these things better.