Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wine & Champagne


Kris loves Chocolate wrote "When I drink (one glass, I am not talking getting tipsy here) wine, I get a horrible migraine. Once in awhile I can sip on white wine and be ok, but never red wine. I can drink Champagne though. Someone said I am allergic to the sulphates? No sulphates in Champagne?"

Most alcoholic drinks contain sulphites; it is added to stop fermentation, to kill off unwanted yeasts and generally as a sterilizer in the brewing process.

If the sulphites were the source of your migraines you would get it from wines other than red ones. And foods other than wine. Sulphites are probably the most ubiquitous preservative in our foods, often in levels far higher than found in wine. It is found in anything from dried fruit to manufactured meat. Some people do respond badly to sulphites but it is rare.

Possibly your response is to the histamines in red wine. These are absent (or low) in white wines. Taking an antihistamine tablet before consuming some red wine would tell you whether you are responding to histamines or not. Again, it is possible but rare.

Tannins are another possibility as red wine has more of them than white wine. The colour of red wine is extracted from the grape skins and tannin is also extracted in the process. If this was the case you would expect eating dark grapes would produce a headache. Even drinking tea may give a headache, though obviously different tannins are present in tea.

The short answer is that no one knows why some people get a headache from red wine.



  1. I just love these explanations! Where have you been all my life? I plan on listing educational blogs on my sideline. May I include yours?

  2. Thank you, I am going to experiment with an antihistimine someday.
    I agree with Lakeviewer, I love this chemists kitchen blog and love it when a new post comes up. Hope you keep it going a long time.

  3. How do u get all this info from..!!
    This was interesting!
    you are the best!!! :)


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