You might think wine containing milk is a crazy idea. Milk and wine don’t mix! No they do not… but recently I discovered, after sharing a bottle of white wine from The Co-op, that this wine did indeed have a warning label declaring quite clearly that it contained MILK.
The ingredient used was potassium caseinate (from milk), which according to wine manufactures is processed and so will not contain any of the allergen from the milk.
Most wine has the ‘Contains sulphites’ warning but so far I’ve only found The Co-op labels wine with every ingredient. Top marks to Co-op. I hope other supermarkets and wine manufacturers take note.
Potassium caseinate is made my disolving casein which is a white powder from milk in potassium and then it’s hydrolyzed. This forms a clear tastless liquid which is used to ‘clear/fine’ the wine. The potassium caseinate binds to the particles in the wine which might cause cloudiness and these can them be removed – leaving lovely clear white wine.
Well that’s kind of what happens without getting to scientific, but how do they know it no longer causes an allergic reaction? Is any left in the wine?
Have wine manufacturers or scientists really tested this? Does it depend how much potassium caseinate is used? How much do they use?
I found this blog from the academic wino entitled “Casein Levels in Commercial Wines Not Enough to Elicit Allergic Reaction in Milk Allergy-Stricken Adults”, which discusses the findings of a study in Italy to compare levels of casein in wine. The findings suggest that those with a dairy allergy should not worry about potassium caseinate in wine since the levels are minuscule.
So what happened?
Nothing bad seemed to happen though I did stop drinking the wine and didn’t finish my glass. I didn’t have any swelling in my throat or lips. I wasn’t wheezing. My skin looked OK. No hives or rashes appearing.
I took an anti-histamine and tried to forget about it, hoping I would not wake up covered in rashes, which can be the case if I eat certain allergens. Usually dairy gives me a very quick and nasty reaction though so perhaps I had got away with it.
Next morning all was well. Nothing untoward had happened in the night and I felt fine.
The next day. Still fine. Nothing major to report.
Certainly nothing to indicate I’d consumed the dreaded milk.
The only thing noticable were a few hives on the backs of my legs, which could have been caused by anything.
Also some hard lumps on the back of my neck, behind my ears and in my hairline.
I often get these. They are not quite hives but harder and more permenent. They stay for quite some time, itch like mad, and if I do scratch them accidentally they form scabs and bleed quite profusedly.
So far I have not scratched them but they are still there.
I have often wondered what causes these little lumps so maybe it’s potassium caseinate.
So, not totally conclusive proof but certainly I suffered no massive reaction to this wine. Has anyone had a reaction to milk in wine? Or could the reactions I do have be due to some other chemical added for reasons only know to wine manufacturers? Most people don’t realise that what they are drinking isn’t just grapes so hopefully wine manufacturers will soon have to comply to the same labelling rules as the rest of the food industry.