By John ~ February 22nd, 2008.
It should be obvious that if you drink too much you are likely to get a headache. So besides cutting back on the quantity of wine you drink at one sitting, or spitting instead of swallowing like the professional tasters do, what can you do to lessen the headache issue?
While sulfites often get the blame for headaches after drinking red wine, doctors say that a more likely culprit is histamines. Taking an over-the-counter antihistamine before drinking may be the solution to your problem. [We are not doctors so please consult with your regular doctor before taking any medication.]
And while we’re giving advice on headache prevention, also remember to drink plenty of water when you drink wine, because all alcoholic beverages have a dehydrating effect. And medical experts say that can also contribute to headaches.
It’s a myth that sulfites in wine cause headaches. In fact, all wine grapes have natural sulfites. Don’t be confused by the label that says, “No sulfites added.” That doesn’t mean “no” sulfites. Red wines actually have the least amount of sulfites added because they already have plenty of natural preservatives from the grape skins used to make them. If you truly believe that it is sulfites causing your headaches, beware of salsa, dried fruits, packaged cookies, and even orange juice. They all have much higher levels of sulfites than red wine. In fact, a typical salad bar uses ten times the sulfites in wine to keep its produce fresh.
In sum, for the best chance of headache-free wine tasting, take an antihistamine before you begin, drink plenty of water along with the wine, drink in moderation, and spit instead of swallowing, especially if you are the designated driver.
Filed under: General Wine Information