Wine allergy sufferers rejoice: Deerfield Ranch winery crafts Clean Wine

Deerfield Rancy Winery, Harvest Sonoma Valley, CA
Deerfield Rancy Winery, Harvest Sonoma Valley, CA

SONOMA, January 19, 2014 – For some people a glass of red wine is an invitation to a roaring headache, and after a few such allergic reactions they banish wine from their lives forever.

Cleanwine trademark
Cleanwine trademark

“I’m very sensitive to SO2 (sulfur-dioxide), and have experienced wine allergies. Robert crafts wine that even I can drink,” says PJ Rex, wife of Robert Rex. Robert began by simply figuring out a way to handcraft wine that his wife could enjoy, and ended up with a revolutionary new way to make it.Each and every one of us likely knows someone that says they have a wine allergy. They feel they have to “break up” with wine, otherwise they will continue to suffer.”

These consumers believe they are allergic to wine, or to the sulfite or tannins in wine, when what really affects them are the histamines in wine.The idea of Clean Wine™ comes from Deerfield Ranch Winery’s winemaker, Robert Rex. It is the result of 40 years in the winemaking business, combined with being married to a woman with a severe wine allergy.

Beyond wine allergy sufferers, anyone who wants to be healthy, live a healthy lifestyle and seeks out organic food will be interested in Clean Wine. Today’s wine consumer is smarter than ever. They are demanding higher quality wines, and actively seek out such wines. As proof, there are more organic and biodynamic wineries than ever in California. According to the California Certified Organic Farmers Association (CCOF), who manages the organic certification of all farms in the state of California, organic pastures and fields are up 89% over last year. Organic berries experienced a 13% growth over the previous year.

This nets out to a nearly 20% increase in organic wines produced.

Sonoma, CA: Deerfield Ranch Winery, Clean Wine
Sonoma, CA: Deerfield Ranch Winery, Clean Wine

If you currently suffer from wine allergies, you should be able to consume Deerfield wines without effect.Clean Wine is for anyone who suffers from wine allergies. Some reported symptoms include wine headaches, breathing problems, hot flashes, red flush of the face, ears and neck, puffiness and hives. Clean Wine is the highest quality wine on the market today.

The process that the Deerfield Ranch wines go through is based in science, proven through everyday wine consumption, and even supported by a current thesis in development at Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo. The result is a cleaner wine that is low in histamines and sulfites.

– Tannins are what cause wine allergies (not true)
In general, there are two big misconceptions when it comes to wine allergies:

– Sulfites are what cause wine allergies (partially true)

The fact is that it is the histamine level in wine, not tannins, that primarily cause wine allergies. Histamines are produced during the fermentation process by an interaction of the yeast and bacteria. Elevated levels of sulfite may cause allergic reactions.

Robert & PJ Rex, Deerfield Ranch Winery, Sonoma Valley, CA.
Robert & PJ Rex, Deerfield Ranch Winery, Sonoma Valley, CA.

According to the CCOF, there is a difference between organic wine and wine made with organic grapes. Organic wine means that the grapes have been grown in accordance with the organic standards established by the USDA National Organic Program (NOP), the wine has been produced and bottled in a certified organic facility and contains no added sulfites. If a wine is labeled as “made with organic grapes”, the difference is that the wines may contain added sulfites of up to 100ppm.

Sulfite is used to keep the wine from prematurely oxidizing during the barrel aging process, and to protect it from excess oxygen pickup during bottling. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) attracts the oxygen and becomes non-reactive (inert) SO3. Deerfield will not release their wine until the low levels of SO2 react with the free oxygen picked up by the wine and is reduced to non-reactive levels.Deerfield Ranch takes their clean winemaking even further. The process that Robert Rex has created involves reducing bacteria in the fermenter by reducing the source of unwanted histamine production. This involves keeping the yeast happy with food and oxygen as they grow rapidly, while eating the sugar in the grapes converting it to alcohol, reducing the growth rate of unwanted bacteria, and the necessity to use sulfite during this stage of winemaking.

Sonoma, CA: Deerfield Ranch Winery, crushpad at harvest
Sonoma, CA: Deerfield Ranch Winery, crushpad at harvest

According to Chris Sikorski, Owner of three Cork wine shops in Calgary, this is a growing category, without a doubt. “Every day, we have three or four people that come into our shops asking for wines with no sulfites, or a red wine that won’t give them a headache. Those who get headaches and have reactions to most wines can usually drink Deerfield wines without ill effects.”Deerfield also triple-hand-sorts their grapes to remove damaged grapes that have high levels of bacteria, keeps a clean fermentation environment and monitors the yeast for stress levels. Regular feeding with organic yeast and an adequate supply of oxygen keeps the yeast growing happily. These measures leave very little histamine in the finished wine.

Now you know what clean wine is, and what wine allergies actually mean. It explains why when one day you drink a glass of wine you feel like you’ve had a bottle, and then another day you have two glasses and feel fine. Deerfield Ranch wine lovers certainly know the difference. And it is Deerfield’s goal to take Clean Wine to the next level.

The first step was to get “Clean Wine” trademarked. Now that this phase is complete, next up is getting the symbol on their bottles, and eventually perhaps the entire industry.

But one step at a time; for now, wine allergy and health conscience consumers can celebrate by bringing wine back to their dinner tables, parties and daily life. The future of wine certainly will include Clean Wine.

Sonoma, CA: Deerfield Ranch at harvest, hand sorting grapes
Sonoma, CA: Deerfield Ranch at harvest, hand sorting grapes

More information about Clean Wine can be found at

Check out Deerfield Ranch Winery’s website for more information regarding their wines.

Sources: Get the Numbers on Organic: Statistics at a Glance; CCOF.

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  • WineCountryGeographi

    Actually CCOF does not certify all organic farms or vines in California…just most of them. The number of CCOF certified wine grapes actually declined over the last few years, so it’s doubtful that the production of wines from organic grapes has actually increased, alas.