What In Wine Gives You A Headache? (TOP 5 Tips)

Tannins, another grape-skin constituent, could be at fault. Tannins are plant chemicals that impart flavor to red wines and contain antioxidants. But they also spur the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which at high levels can cause headaches in some people.

What is the best wine to avoid headaches?

  • Serotonin is a “happy” neurotransmitter, but too much of it can cause headaches. The dryer the wine, the more tannins it is likely to contain, so to avoid headaches, avoid red wines, especially very dry ones. White wines like chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, sauterne and pinot grigio are good choices.


How do you avoid a headache when drinking wine?

Some answers:

  1. What causes a “wine headache”?
  2. What can you do to prevent it?
  3. Drink water before, or as, you drink wine.
  4. Consider taking an antihistamine before drinking wine, advises Dr.
  5. Drink two cups of strong coffee before you drink wine.

Can sulfites in wine cause headaches?

But scientists have found no link between sulfites in wine and headaches. In fact, for people who have this allergy, the typical response is not a headache but hives and difficulty breathing. What’s more, white wines generally have more added sulfites than reds.

What wine has no sulfites?

Top 5: Wines Without Sulfites

  • Frey Vineyards Natural Red NV, California ($9)
  • Cascina Degli Ulivi Filagnotti 2009, Piedmont ($22)
  • Domaine Valentin Zusslin Crémant Brut Zéro, Alsace ($25)
  • Donkey & Goat The Prospector Mourvèdre 2010 ($30), California.
  • Château Le Puy Côtes de Francs 2006, Bordeaux ($42)

Which wine doesn’t give you a headache?

If drinking wine gives you symptoms like congestion or headaches it might just be histamines are the culprit. Try drinking dry whites like Sauvignon Blanc or sparkling wines like Cava or Prosecco as they are lower in histamines than red wines.

Why does wine in Italy not give you a headache?

” Contains sulfites ” is on all bottles of wine sold in the United States, no matter where the wine was made, because of our government’s regulations, rules that do not hold outside the U.S. Anyway, most people do not “get a headache” from ingesting sulfites. The “typical allergic reaction to sulfites,” says Dr.

What is Prosecco?

Prosecco is made from a blend of grapes that must be at least 85% glera, with the rest being local and international varieties including verdiso, bianchetta trevigiana, perera, chardonnay, pinot bianco, pinot grigio and pinot noir. The majority of prosecco is produced using the Charmat method.

Why do I get a headache after drinking a small amount of alcohol?

Alcohol is a diuretic – it acts on your kidneys to make you pee more fluid than you’re taking in. Losing fluid from your body like this can lead to dehydration, which can cause headaches.

What are the side effects of sulfites in wine?

Sulfite reactions normally affect breathing, but some people with sensitivity have skin reactions, such as hives, or digestive problems, such as abdominal pain or diarrhea. Some individuals experience a mixture of symptoms, including respiratory, skin, and digestive reactions.

Can you really remove sulfites from wine?

Hydrogen peroxide oxidizes sulfites, turning sulfite into hydrogen sulfate, which does not cause the types of problems that are associated with sulfites. It’s long been said that a few drops of H2O2 in your wine will eliminate the sulfites altogether, at least in theory.

What alcohol is high in sulfites?

Beer, brown liquor, and ciders are high in histamines and sulfites, so stick to natural wines and clear liquors.

Does all alcohol have acetaldehyde?

While your body produces acetaldehyde when breaking down alcohol, alcoholic beverages also contain different levels of acetaldehyde. Clear, non-flavored spirits, such as gin and vodka, tend to have less acetaldehyde than dark, fruity drinks, such as brandy or sherry.

What wine gives you the least hangover?

Red wine has the lowest levels of Acetaldehyde. Wines with high levels of this chemical include Sherry, Brandy, and some sweet wines.

Which wines are low in histamine?

Sparkling, white and rosé wines all are low histamine wines when compared to reds. And, it’s not even a small difference. Red wine can have as much as 20–200% more histamine than white wine (refer to the table below)!

Wine Headache: Causes, Treatment, Prevention Tips

Could a bottle that can store three cases of wine be called anything other than Goliath, after the behemoth who was destroyed by little David?


Histamine may be found in grape skins. Because white wine is produced without the use of the grape skin, it has a lower histamine level than red wine, which is produced using the entire grape. The presence of histamine sensitivity may make you more prone to migraines. Keep in mind that other meals, other than alcoholic beverages, contain higher levels of histamine. These are some examples:

  • Aged cheese, eggplant, sauerkraut, spinach, salmon, sausage, and salami are some of the options.


Grape skins also contain plant compounds known as tannins, which contribute to the flavor of wine by helping to preserve its color. Some people have headaches when they consume tannins because they induce the body to release serotonin. Tannins are found in greater quantities in red wines than in white wines. The tannins in tea, dark chocolate, and various berries and nuts are just a few of the foods that contain this compound. Tannins are believed to be responsible for the onset of migraines in persons who are taking migraine prevention medications.


Wine headaches are occasionally attributed to the presence of sulfites in the wine. Sulfites are chemicals that aid in the preservation of red and white wines, among other things. It is more probable that you will develop breathing issues rather than headaches if you have a sulfite sensitivity. Sulfites can also be found in higher concentrations in the following foods:

  • Certain fruits and dried fruits, chips, pickles, raisins, and soy sauce are examples of foods that fall within this category.

chips; pickles; raisins; soy sauce are all examples of items that fall under the category of “fruits and dried fruits.”

  • Additionally, the things you’ve eaten, drinking on an empty stomach, your stress levels, and level of exhaustion are all factors to consider.

Of course, excessive consumption of any form of alcoholic beverage might result in a hangover headache. However, the amount of alcohol you consume, rather than the sort of alcohol you consume, is what causes that type of headache. When you see the first signs of a wine headache coming on, it’s a good idea to put your wine glass down and explore one or more of the solutions listed below.

  • Make sure you drink lots of water. Drink something with caffeine in it
  • Apply a cold compress or ice pack to the area of discomfort. Place yourself in a dark room and close your eyes.

Wine headaches may be relieved with over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications, such as the following: Even while over-the-counter pain medicines are typically harmless, combining them with alcoholic beverages might be hazardous in some circumstances, particularly if you:

  • Taking more medicine than is suggested
  • Consuming three or more alcoholic beverages per day while using the drug
  • Having stomach ulcers or other bleeding issues
  • Taking blood thinning medicines

If you use over-the-counter or prescription headache medications, read the label carefully for directions and cautions about possible interactions with alcohol. Identifying wine as a typical headache cause may indicate that you should abstain from consuming the beverage in the future. It is possible that there will be no more reds, no more whites, or no more wine at all. You could want to try with different types of wine if your headaches are tolerable and you’re prepared to take a chance on it, on the other hand.

  1. When it comes to winemaking, there are a range of grape varieties available as well as preservatives and other substances to consider.
  2. Any form of alcoholic beverage, especially if consumed in excess, can cause a headache.
  3. If you do not consume alcohol, the recommended daily consumption for women is one standard drink per day and two standard drinks per day for men.
  4. It is not unusual to get a wine headache, although the cause is not always evident.
  5. If you get a wine headache on a regular basis, this does not always indicate that you should stop drinking wine in the future.
  6. Drinking gently and limiting the amount of alcohol you consume may also help you avoid a headache.

If your wine headache appears out of nowhere, is severe, or is accompanied by additional symptoms you haven’t experienced before, consult your doctor right once.

Why Does Red Wine Or White Wine Give Me A Headache?

After a long evening and a lot of wine, we’ve all experienced the following scenario: we’re at the conclusion of the evening and a severe headache begins to develop. The most common reason of a wine headache is simply drinking too much wine and not enough water, according to the majority of us. The simplest approach in this situation is to constantly be mindful of how much alcohol you consume and to always drink plenty of water. However, for a small percentage of our population, headaches caused by wine can occur even when we don’t consume large quantities of the beverage.

There are three primary causes and treatments, but before we go into detail about each, we want to dispel a common misconception: sulfites do not cause headaches.

Let’s take a look at the three most common headache-inducing factors:

  1. Firstly, tannins: As we explained in our tannins piece, tannins are naturally occurring chemicals that exist inside grape skins, seeds, and stems, and they are responsible for the color of wine. When you drink a wine that causes a drying sensation in your mouth, you are experiencing the effects of tannins, and for the vast majority of us, tannins do not cause a headache at all. In fact, tannins are an excellent source of antioxidants. In the meanwhile, if you notice that you experience headaches more frequently when you drink red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec, you may do a simple test to see whether tannins are the source of your headache troubles. Make a cup of black tea and let it steep for five or ten minutes longer than the packet says, depending on your preference. Black tea contains a high concentration of tannins, and over-steeping the tea will guarantee that all of the tannins are released into the water. Take the tea and see whether you develop a headache as a result of it. If this is the case, you are sensitive to tannins, and avoiding red wines will alleviate your headache problem. Culprit number two is sugar: Combining the effects of alcohol and sugar might result in a very painful headache for many people. When you eat alcohol or sugar, your body necessitates the consumption of large amounts of water in order to aid in the processing of the chemicals. If you are not properly hydrated, your body will begin to draw the required water from other regions of your body, including your brain, in order to meet its demands. A headache develops as the amount of fluids in your brain begins to diminish. For best results, stay away from sweet dessert wines and white wines such as Riesling that are labeled semi-dry or sweet (if you prefer Riesling but don’t want the sugar headache, make sure the wine is labeled dry). Another type of wine to avoid is less expensive wines, which tend to contain more sugar since mass manufacturers add sugar during the fermentation process in order to increase the alcohol content. Histamines are the third culprit. As a result of having an allergic reaction, histamines are released into the body and can cause symptoms such as a runny nose, dry eyes, and a headache. In recent study, it was discovered that foods and beverages that have been aged, such as dry aged meats and red wines, might stimulate our bodies to produce histamines, resulting in the symptoms associated with allergies. If you want to avoid getting a histamine headache after drinking red wine, simply take a histamine blocker such as Claritin before you drink it.
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Let me reiterate: for the vast majority of us, the cause of a wine headache is simply drinking too much wine without drinking enough water. Is there such a thing as a fabled wine headache cure? A wine headache may be prevented by just stopping it before it starts. It’s as easy as that. Don’t go overboard, especially during a work party.

Why Does Wine Give You a Headache?

Some days it starts with a dull forehead throb, while other days it starts with a warp in the corners of my vision. Afterwards, the discomfort grows until it seems as if my mind is trying to unstick itself from my head. A headache has struck me, a severe one, and I’m not sure why I’ve got it. Because someone asked me a simple question—”Would you like red or white?”—and I picked red despite the fact that I was well aware of the ramifications of my decision. I’m not the only one that feels this way.

  • Even a single glass of wine might set off a chain reaction.
  • For example, I was invited to a dinner party hosted by a fashionable acquaintance last year and had a great time.
  • The hue of the wine was that of rubies.
  • The woman said, “I’ve got some type ofRiesling in the fridge.” I was on the fence.
  • But it wasn’t.
  • I took a chance and ended up with a pounding headache that I had to smile and bear for the rest of the night.

Sulfites: Innocent Or Evil?

Some days it starts with a dull forehead throb, while other days it begins with a warp in the corners of my vision. My mind begins to unstick itself from my head at this point, and the pain becomes unbearable. That horrible headache of mine is becoming more and more severe. What is the source of my suffering? Because someone asked me a simple question—”Would you like red or white?”—and I picked red despite the fact that I was well aware of the ramifications of my choice. I’m not the only one that thinks this way!

  • Any amount of alcohol can set off an attack.
  • For example, I was invited to a dinner party hosted by a gorgeous acquaintance last year, which I quite enjoyed.
  • Wine with the color of rubies was consumed.
  • A bottle of Riesling was also in her refrigerator, she added.
  • Undistinguished Riesling vs grand cru Burgundy should have been a no-brainer, right?

It was a risky move for me. In the end, I had to smile and bear it for the rest of the night, with a pounding in my head. So the issue becomes, how can I, or anybody else, distinguish between a headache-inducing red and one that is not?

Skin in the Game

Then what is the cause if sulfites are not to blame? Scientists are split on the subject, but the most likely possibilities are two kinds of naturally occurring substances present in red wines: phenolic flavonoids and biogenic amines. Phenolic flavonoids and biogenic amines are the most likely culprits. Explaining these compounds risks delving into chemistry-class-level nerdiness, but, in general, phenolic flavonoids include many of the molecules that contribute to the color, flavor, and mouthfeel of wine, all of which are concentrated in the skin, seeds, and stems of grapes.

  • They can bounce around your body after being consumed, blocking particular enzymes in your stomach, activating the release of serotonin in your brain, and generating responses that have been associated with headaches.
  • Red wines, on the other hand, are not made equal.
  • Abouch Krymchantowski and Dr.
  • They were instructed to consume the wines on separate evenings and to keep track of their impressions in a journal.
  • What’s the difference?

Tanning and phenolic flavonoids in the Cabernet Sauvignon grape are extracted in large quantities by winemakers in the Médoc and Haut-Médoc regions (which is where the Bordeaux used in the study was sourced) because these compounds aid in the development of flavors and also add aging potential to the finished wine, respectively.

  1. Krymchantowski, are created to be consumed immediately upon release, making them more “approachable.” As a result, less tannins and other flavonoids are removed during the winemaking process, perhaps making these wines more tolerable for those who suffer from headaches.
  2. Dr.
  3. Tannin and other flavonoids are present in higher concentrations in some wines than others, according to Dr.
  4. “Those made with the grape Tannat, or Cabernet Sauvignon, particularly from the parts of Bordeaux on the left bank of the Gironde, and perhaps some Syrahs from South America, are worse than others.” However, he acknowledges that drawing strict lines is difficult.

A Cabernet Sauvignon from a nearby winery, on the other hand, doesn’t upset her at all. “So, what are you going to do?” I inquired about him. “I always try to buy the second bottle of wine,” he said, a prudent response.

It’s All in the Genes

A class of compounds known as biogenic amines, which are created during fermentation, include molecules that are associated with headaches such as histamine and tyramine. While the amount of amine present in wine varies greatly, it is often more in reds than in whites. So these chemicals are the bad guys, don’t you think? Dr. Sami Bahna, of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center’s Department of Allergy and Immunology, notes that genetics (as well as certain drugs like as MAO inhibitors) may hinder certain drinkers’ capacity to metabolize histamine and its brothers.

However, if you have amine sensitivity, you should be aware of the following foods: Aged cheeses, preserved meats, and dried fruits are all known to cause allergic responses.

The Sum of the Parts

Some individuals swear by drinking only natural wines, which are created without the addition of any chemicals, in order to avoid headaches. However, because all of these hazardous chemicals are found in nature, research does not support this hypothesis. In reality, providing a one-size-fits-all answer is nearly impossible since the alchemy of a red wine headache is dependent on only on the chemical content of the wine, but also on the quirks of your body, the circumstances of your life, and even the weather.

Audrey Halpern, an assistant professor of neurology at New York University’s Langone Medical Center who specializes in headaches, explains that people who are prone to migraines are more likely to be adversely affected by red wine, but that multiple triggers are usually required to bring on a full-blown attack: “People who are prone to migraines are more likely to be adversely affected by red wine, but people who are not prone to migraines are not.” “It’s not simply the glass of red wine,” says the author.

It’s the red wine and a slice of pepperoni pizza, as well as the reduction in barometric pressure as a result of a hurricane approaching.” To make matters even more complicated, your proclivity to acquire a headache is dependent on your physiology.

Halpern, hormonal changes “could make the brain more susceptible to infection.” “Alternatively, if you’re stressed out or not sleeping well,” she says.

The Takeaway

A New Year’s Eve encounter with a magnificent bottle of Quintarelli Valpolicella—an really lush, strong Italian red—left me with a few hours of cringing pain, I determined that was the end of the bottle for me this year. I’d had enough of the wine headaches. Or, at the absolute least, I’d experiment with some wines that were specifically designed with headache patients in mind. Sebastiano Ramello, an Italian winemaker (and exceptionally wonderful son), set out to create a wine that would not exacerbate his mother’s symptoms after she was diagnosed with histamine intolerance.

On a recent rainy afternoon, I had the opportunity to sample both.

However, the bottle of Bruno Giacosa Dolcetto that I opened thereafter didn’t give me a headache and turned out to be an even finer wine than the first.

Thus, it’s possible that my future wine consumption will be dominated by those varietals.

My husband and I still have three bottles of that wonderful Quintarelli wine from New Year’s Eve left over from our celebration. And, regardless of the ramifications, I plan to take pleasure in each and every one of them.

Wine Headaches: What Causes Them and How to Prevent Them

You might be interested in learning more about your wine tastes. Make use of our simple 7-question survey to receive tailored wine recommendations! What about headaches after drinking a glass of wine, sometimes known as “wine headaches,” do you ever experience them? Yes, you read that correctly: we didn’t say after a few glasses of wine. It goes without saying that overindulging is never a smart idea, whether it’s on the sofa or at the corporate Christmas party. Sipping wine gently enhances the enjoyment of the beverage, and your body will thank you for not overindulging.

The vast majority of individuals (happily) can drink wine without experiencing headaches, but some people will get wine headaches, though not all of the time and not with every type of wine.

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Surprise, surprise: it’s not what you expect.

First, Debunking the Myth of Sulfites

Would you like to discover more about your wine tastes? You may obtain tailored wine matching by taking our brief 7-question questionnaire! Does a glass of wine ever cause you to get a headache (a.k.a. “dreaded wine headaches”)? And no, we didn’t say “after a few glasses,” we said “after a few.” Naturally, overindulging is never a smart idea, whether it’s on the sofa or at a Christmas party hosted by the business. Sipping wine slowly makes it more delightful, and your body will thank you for not indulging in excessive amounts.

The vast majority of individuals (happily) can drink wine without experiencing headaches, but some people will get wine headaches, though not all of the time and not with every type of wine they consume.

Not what you expect, to give you a heads up.

The Three Likely Causes of Your Wine Headaches

Tannins are a kind of polyphenol, which is a chemical molecule found in plants. Tannins are derived from the seeds, skins, and stems of grapes, which are used to make wine. Given that red wine derives its color from the skins of the grapes, it stands to reason that red wine has higher levels of tannins than white wine. What does the flavor of tannins taste like? Tannins are responsible for the astringent character of wine. A drying feeling on the sides of your tongue after drinking a glass of wine indicates that you’re experiencing tannins.

Unfortunately, tannins are known to induce headaches in some individuals.

The Fix for Your Tannin Wine Headaches

A strong cup of black tea can be used to determine whether or not tannins are the source of your headaches. We’re talking about something quite serious. Allow the tea bag to steep for a further 10 minutes or so. Black tea contains a high concentration of tannins, which are released into the boiling water when the tea is over-steeped. If you consume this tea and have a headache, you most likely have a sensitivity to the tannins in it. For those in this situation, red wines with high tannin content, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Tannat, would be a good choice to steer clear.

If you enjoy red wine, consider lighter, lower-tannin reds such as Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Dolcetto if you are a fan of the grape.

You may also try with full-bodied reds from South America, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, which have lower tannin levels than their French counterparts and are often less expensive.

2. Histamines

Make a strong cup of black tea to see whether tannins are the source of your headaches. Our language is really forceful. Allow for an additional 10 minutes of steeping time for the tea bag. In addition, black tea has a lot of tannins, which are released into the boiling water if you over-steep the tea. In the event that you consume this tea and have a headache, you most likely have a reaction to tannins. For those in this situation, red wines with strong tannin content, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Tannat, could be a good choice.

For those who enjoy red wine, light-tasting, lower-tannin reds such as Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Dolcetto are excellent choices to sample.

The Fix for Your Histamine Wine Headaches

If you know you have an allergy to histamines, you can take a Claritin before having a glass of red wine to prevent allergic reactions. Additionally, you may stick to red wines that are low in histamines, such as Dolcetto and Barbera, or try these varietals from Italian producer Sebastiano Ramello. The discovery by Sebastiano’s mother that she had a histamine sensitivity led him to make wines that had tenth the amount of histamines present in a typical bottle of red wine for the Veglio winery in Piedmont.

The majority of mass-market wines sold in grocery stores, particularly red mixes, are high in sugar, which might result in a headache after drinking them.

3. Sugar

Sugar, particularly when used in conjunction with alcohol, can create a headache. When you drink a sugary beverage and are not well hydrated, your body will draw water from its own reservoir. You’ll experience a headache as soon as the water drains from your head.

The Fix for Your Sugar Wine Headache

First and foremost, remember to remain hydrated — both in general and when drinking wine. Drinking wine and water on a glass-for-glass basis is one option, but you may also simply have a beautiful tall glass of water before you begin drinking and again at the end of the night as an alternative. You should also avoid sweeter wines such as dessert wines, white wines that are branded sweet or semi-dry, and red blends that are mass manufactured. Instead, choose for drier reds and whites that are less sweet.

In Vino Finito

Fear not – unless you have a sulfite allergy, sulfites are unlikely to be the source of your headaches after drinking red wine. Keep in mind to keep hydrated when enjoying a glass of wine, and seek medical attention if the condition persists. Want to learn even more about wine? Join our daily email, Glass Half Full, for the latest news and updates.


Our team is made up entirely of wine enthusiasts with a lot of enthusiasm.

With our great sommeliers at the helm, we’ve been thoroughly educated on everything related to wine. Writing this essay was a collaborative effort between two friends who wanted to share their knowledge of wines with the world.

The science behind those painful wine headaches

iStock | Getty Images Plus | andresr | Getty Images Have you ever had something like this happen to you? What if you’re enjoying a glass or two of wine when your head starts to feel like someone peeled off a Band-Aid from your brain? You’re not alone in feeling this way. But what occurred after that? And why is it that some people never have wine headaches? Dr. Nadia Berenstein is a researcher who writes about science, technology, and culture in the context of food for a variety of media as well as on her blog, Flavor Added, among other places.

  1. Russ Parsons: I’d want to thank you for your time.
  2. Some have contended for years that it is caused by the sulfites in the wine, but you assert that this is not the case, and I agree.
  3. Nadia Berenstein (Nadia Berenstein): I’m one of those folks that gets headaches after drinking red wine.
  4. I will experience a splitting headache, especially after drinking very exquisite wines, which I have described as feeling like a Band-Aid is being torn off my brain once.
  5. On the whole, I believe that we have a tendency to presume that because wines have a sulfite warning sign on them, that it must be a potentially harmful chemical that is causing our discomfort, but this is not the case.
  6. When they ingest food that contains sulfite, they experience an allergic reaction, which may manifest itself as a rash or trouble breathing in some cases.
  7. For the rest of us, when we see that warning label, we automatically assume that it is the reason of our discomfort.

Since antiquity, winemakers have been adding sulfites to their products in little amounts to make them taste better.

They help to maintain the vibrancy of red wines.

Furthermore, because they are a natural result of fermentation, it is difficult to produce a wine that is completely free of sulfite.

Consequently, if you don’t get a headache after eating dried apricots, you shouldn’t automatically conclude that sulfites are the source of your discomfort.

Photo courtesy of Amy Mills As a matter of fact, white wines tend to have more sulfites than red wines.

Sulfites are commonly used by winemakers to enhance the flavor of white wines.

In the event that sulfites are not the culprit, what do you suppose it is?

The first type of flavonoids are phenolic flavonoids.

They contribute to the texture and color of the wine, among other things.

It’s a group of taste compounds.

Biogenic amines are the name given to the second class of chemicals.

They have also been connected to the occurrence of headaches.

NB: Let’s start with the phenolic flavonoids, which are the most abundant.

Because these chemicals are concentrated in the skins of the grapes, red wines contain higher concentrations than white wines.

Wines that have been heavily extracted, like as the rich and tannic wines produced in specific sections of Bordeax, are particularly rich in phenolic flavonoids.

It’s a different scenario when it comes to biogenic amines.

As we begin to have a better understanding of what is going on, are there any winemakers who are putting forth efforts to develop wines that will not have these adverse effects?

In order to write this tale, I spoke with someone who has been involved in the manufacturing of low histamine wines.

He explained to me that as part of his job as a wine consultant, he would attend tastings and bring back the bottles of wine that he would like to share with friends and family back to his apartment.

She ultimately went to a doctor, who diagnosed her with histamine sensitivity and advised her not to consume red wine again.

He began looking for techniques to manufacture wine that contained a low level of histamine.

He explains that it is all about managing the germs that are present on the grapes as well as throughout the manufacturing and fermenting process.

He formed a partnership with a Piedmont winery named Veglio in order to develop low-histamine wines, which are now available in stores across the United States.

NB: Wines, like people, are difficult to understand.

The first approach is to pay attention, take notice of what you’re drinking, and attempt to figure out whether there’s a connection between the grapes and the aches and pains.

With wines that are less tannic, you could have better success.

For example, wines that have undergone malolactic fermentation, such as Chardonnays, tend to have larger quantities of these chemicals than other wines.

NB:There is, in fact, such a thing.

However, it’s crucial to remember that it’s not just genes that are at play, but also your environment, which includes the foods you consume.

The combination of red wine and other high-histamine foods may therefore be the cause of your symptoms rather than just the red wine you’re consuming on its own.

Hormonal fluctuations, lack of sleep, and not having eaten lunch are all factors that increase your vulnerability.

People who are prone to migraines are more sensitive to wines, as well as to alcoholic beverages in general, than the general public. This may be something that persons who suffer from migraines wish to address with their neurologist or their migraine specialist.

How to Cure a Wine Headache

Hopefully, you came on this page while searching for information about red wine headaches. Most of the time, there are just three things you need to do to resolve your issue.

Already have a wine headache?

The next post discusses what you can do to avoid a wine headache (yes, it is possible!). If, on the other hand, you are already suffering, you should read this essay.

Wine Headaches Suck

I used to suffer a headache after drinking red wine, it felt like after every glass. No matter how hard I prayed, the dreaded Red Wine Headache (RWH) would hit me every time. It would begin around an hour after I had begun drinking alcohol. The fact that I was making rookie blunders at the time wasn’t apparent to me until afterwards. Purchase the book and receive the course! With the purchase of Wine Folly: Magnum Edition, you will receive a FREE copy of the Wine 101 Course (a $50 value). Read on to find out more

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3 Tricks to Remedy a Wine Headache

1-2 glasses of water with each glass of wine is a good rule of thumb. The most prevalent error that wine drinkers make is underhydrating themselves. Because you’re already drinking, it’s easy to lose track of time. When there is wine involved, hydration is essential, and water is just what you require. Preferably, have a glass of water before you enjoy a glass of wine to avoid dehydration. Although it may annoy your waiter, your forehead will thank you for your efforts. 2 Prior to consuming alcohol, take “two.” I’m referring to two aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen tablets.

  1. Having said that, over-the-counter blood thinners can be beneficial.
  2. Because I’m offering over-the-counter medications and I’m not your doctor, it’s important that you check with him or her first.
  3. 3 Don’t consume sugary foods when drinking wine.
  4. Even though confetti cake sounds particularly delicious (especially after a glass of wine), the combined effects of sugar and alcohol will significantly increase the likelihood of a headache.

What Causes a Wine Headache?

When I first began drinking wine, I experienced a lot of headaches. As it turns out, my wine selections (which included a cheapo grocery store wine) may have played a role in the reaction. When wines are poorly manufactured, they tend to have more adulteration, such as residual sugar, sulfur, fining agents, or a greater alcohol content in order to improve their flavor.

The likelihood of a headache increases if the item is packaged in a box or has a cartoon critter on the label. It’s questionable if it comes in a box or is labeled with a creature on it since it has the potential to cause headaches.

MYTH: Sulfites in Wine Cause Headaches

In the 1980s, the Food and Drug Administration determined that around one percent of the population was allergic to sulfites, which was a significant finding. In order to protect the health of the sensitive population, wines containing sulfites in excess of 20 ppm (parts per million) must be labeled as “contains sulfites.” A naturally occurring sulfur compound on grapes, sulfur is also routinely added in tiny amounts at the start of fermentation and just before bottling. Typically, red wines contain between 50 and 350 parts per million (ppm), and white wines have between 250 and 450 parts per million (ppm) (because of extreme sensitivity to light, heat and discoloration).

Dried mangoes and apricots contain around 4-10 times the amount of sulfites found in wine (1000-3000 ppm).

FACT: Histamines Cause Inflammation

Dr. Freitag of the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago first published a paper in which he hypothesized that histamines were to blame for the occurrence of red wine headaches (1). Tofu, tempeh, champagne, red wine, ketchup, and aged meats are examples of foods that contain high levels of histamines because they have been fermented or aged. Histamines can produce inflammatory flushing as well as excessive waking throughout the night. Because most histamines are known to cause allergic reactions (similar to hay fever), taking an anti-histamine before drinking may be a good idea to avoid the problem.

THEORY: Sensitivity to Tannins

Tannin is responsible for the color, bitterness, and mouth-drying response that characterizes red wine. It is also responsible for the lengthy shelf life of red wines. Because white wines contain far less tannin than red wines, many people who suffer from red wine headaches attribute their condition to tannin. The tannin in grapes is derived from the skins, seeds, and stems of the fruit, as well as from wood. Many commercial wines also contain tannins derived from commercially refined sources such as chestnut, Indian gooseberry, gambir leaf, and the wood of a particularly dense, dark-wooded Spanish tree known as Quebracho, which grows in the Andes.

THEORY: Increased Tyramine Levels

Tyramine levels rise when foods age and proteins are broken down, which is a result of the breakdown of proteins. tyramine (a type of amine) has been shown to be a major headache-causing factor in the case of migraine sufferers when it has been isolated and studied. The enzyme is responsible for the constriction of blood vessels. Among the foods that include it are aged cheese, cured ham, yogurt, soy sauce (beans), shrimp paste (coconut), yeast (yeast), bananas (with or without raisins), raspberries (with or without peanuts), pineapple (with or without avocado), eggplant (with or without eggplant), and others.

Having said that, people who are exposed to tyramine on a regular basis are less likely to be affected by it. So… Perhaps more constant wine consumption will be required to overcome the traditional RWH? When you’re not getting enough water, don’t jump to the conclusion that it’s your fault.

NOTE: Allergic Reactions to Alcohol or Yeast

Because wine includes both alcohol and yeast, people who have a high sensitivity to either should exercise caution while drinking it. Hard cheeses and bread (what?!?) should be avoided while attempting to keep your yeast consumption under control when drinking wine. Overall, evaluate your hypotheses thoroughly and don’t be hasty in blaming wine when you aren’t getting enough water in.

Here’s What’s Causing Your Wine Headaches. And It’s Not What You Think

You’ve almost certainly had a severe wine headache at some time in your wine-drinking career at least once. Because so many people are curious about what causes wine headaches and how to avoid them, I’m going to clarify some myths and provide you with three suggestions to help you enjoy wine without the discomfort.

Do sulfites in wine cause headaches?

The likelihood is that you’ve had a severe wine headache at some time in your wine-drinking career. Because so many people are curious about what causes wine headaches and how to avoid them, I’m going to dispel a few myths and provide you with three ideas to help you enjoy wine without the throbbing headache.

Wonder if you’re allergic to sulfites?

Everything from dried fruit to french fries to tomato soup contains far more sulfites than wine! In other words, if you can have a dried mango or an apricot without experiencing any negative side effects, you should be fine with that glass of Pinot Noir. White wines contain more sulfites than red wines, so if you believe you are sensitive to sulfites, stick to reds.

Here’s a helpful infographic fromWine Follyshowing the different levels of sulfites in common foodsbeverages:

Dry fruit, french fries, and soup, among other everyday things, have considerably more sulfites than wine! You should be OK with that glass of Pinot Noir if you can tolerate the taste of dried mango or apricots without experiencing any negative side effects. So, if you believe you could be sensitive to sulfites, stick to red wines rather than white wines.


You can image the devastation alcohol has on your system, especially when you’re already dehydrated. I get dehydration headaches even when I’m not drinking wine—for example, from being out in the hot sun all day. You should be OK if you drink one glass of water (or two, if you’re on the beach) for every glass of wine you consume.


If you’re experiencing wine headaches, it’s likely that you’re consuming too much alcohol. A wine hangover, on the other hand, is not enjoyable! To stay on the safe side, limit yourself to two glasses. “I prefer a martini/ Two at the most/ Three, I’m under the table/ Four, I’m beneath my host,” Dorothy Parker once remarked. Why don’t we apply it to wine as well?

This Is Why Red Wine Gives You Headaches

Getting wine headaches is a sure sign that you’re overindulging in your drinking. Not to mention the fact that a wine hangover is no fun! To be on the safe side, limit yourself to 2 glasses of wine. As Dorothy Parker famously observed, ‘I prefer to have a martini/ Two at the most/ Three, I’m beneath the table/ Four, I’m under my host’. Let’s apply this to wine as well, shall we?

Why Is Wine Giving Me A Headache?

“What is it about alcohol that gives me a headache?” You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve been asked that particular question throughout the years. And I understand your frustration; after 20 years in the wine industry, I, too, get a headache from wine from time to time. So let’s have a look at some of the reasons why alcohol might cause headaches. And, perhaps more crucially, let us consider strategies to reduce the likelihood of such a happening. It is not the SULFITES that are the problem!

Natural by-products of fermentation, sulfites have been employed in wine production for hundreds of years.

They keep your favorite wines from spoiling and let them to remain fresh on shop shelves for longer periods of time.

A totally sulfite-free wine is therefore very difficult to produce, and even if it were possible, it would be unstable in the long term.

They do exist, however they account for fewer than one percent of the population, and they are frequently affected by asthma.

Last but not least, sulfite levels in wines are far lower than those seen in many other commonly consumed meals.

Sulfite levels in all of those items are significantly greater than those seen in wine.


No way, not at all!

Have you ever heard of the terms tannins and/or histamines?

Wine headaches are most likely caused by these two naturally occurring chemicals, which are thought to be the cause of the condition.

It’s tannin that you’ve probably experienced in a red wine that you described as astringent or drying.

Consider the varietals Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Syrah.

Even worse, the charred oak barrels in which many of these larger red wines are matured have a high concentration of tannins.

Hesitant histamines are most typically found in food goods that have been stored for a long period of time – think aged/cured meats, cheeses, and, yes, wine.

That is the enzyme responsible for the breakdown of histamines.

If you have headaches and other allergy symptoms after drinking wine, you are most likely sensitive to tannin and/or have low amounts of the enzyme that breaks down histamines in your system.

Believe me when I say that there is still lots of hope!

And when I do, it’s almost often because I’ve “over-tested” the product, which may be frustrating.


If you are certain that you will not be drinking white wine, skip to step 2.

Caution should be exercised while drinking oaked white wines.


And make a special request for unoaked, lighter-bodied red wines.

But if you really must have that large, oak barrel aged red wine, continue on to number three.

Take Claritin – It really does work!

I have a soft spot for huge reds, but they aren’t necessarily fond of me in return.


Having a chat with a skilled expert who also happens to appreciate wine may be really beneficial.

So there you have it.

And, based on my observations, experiences, and trial and error, I believe that my advise will be effective in this situation.

If you have any questions, would like to contribute to the conversation, or would like to critique my findings, please use the contact form below. Cheers! Table Wine’s owner/operator, Josh Spurling, may be reached at 828-505-8588 or via email at [email protected]

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