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What Gives You Headaches In Wine

What Gives You Headaches In Wine

Are you a wine lover who sometimes suffers from headaches after indulging in a glass or two? You're not alone! Many people, even those with an extensive knowledge of wine, may face this predicament. So, let's dive deep into what causes headaches in wine, how to identify potential triggers, and ultimately, how to enjoy your favorite bottles headache-free.

Understanding Wine Headaches: Histamines and Sulfites


One of the primary culprits of wine-induced headaches are histamines, naturally occurring compounds found in the skin of grapes. Histamines stimulate your immune system and can cause headaches in individuals with histamine intolerance. Red wines usually contain higher amounts of histamines than white wines, so if you've noticed headaches manifesting more frequently after a glass of red, this may be your trigger.

  • Histamine-rich wines: Reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.
  • Lower histamine wines: Whites like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling.


Sulfites, a common food preservative, are added to wines to extend their shelf-life and prevent spoilage. Though a small number of people have a true sulfite sensitivity, in most cases, the sulfite content in wine is not the primary cause of headaches. However, for those sensitive to sulfites, it's essential to monitor your wine's sulfite levels.

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    • High-sulfite wines: White wines, sparkling wines, and dessert wines.
    • Low-sulfite wines: Organic and natural wines.

    Tannins: Friend or Foe?

    Tannins, found in grape skins, seeds, and stems, can also cause headaches in some individuals. However, it's important to note that tannins, which give wine its astringency, also provide health benefits thanks to their high antioxidant content. Just be cautious if you suspect tannins could be the source of your discomfort.

    • High-tannin wines: Red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, and Nebbiolo.
    • Low-tannin wines: White wines and softer reds like Pinot Noir and Grenache.

    Dehydration and Overconsumption

    Let's not forget the most basic factors that can lead to headaches: dehydration and overconsumption of alcohol. Always remember to enjoy wine responsibly and drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.

    • Stick to a glass of water for every glass of wine.
    • Consume wine in moderation, following recommended guidelines for alcohol consumption.

    What Gives You Headaches In Wine Example:

    Imagine you're attending an evening wine tasting featuring a variety of red and white wines. Armed with the knowledge of potential headache triggers, you can make informed decisions about which wines to sample. Opt for a glass of refreshing low-histamine Sauvignon Blanc and follow it with a glass of water to stay hydrated. Sampling a high-tannin red? Keep the portion small, especially if you're sensitive to tannins. Should you experience a headache later, take note of which wine may have caused the issue so you can be more mindful in the future.

    Now that you're aware of the potential headache-inducing factors in wine, you can enjoy this beloved beverage with newfound confidence. Understanding your personal triggers and staying informed about the different characteristics of various wines will ensure a pleasurable experience every time you raise your glass. Don't forget to join the Black Wine Club community – share this article on your favorite social media platform and explore other insightful guides on our website to elevate your wine journey!

    Do You Want to Win a Free Bottle of Wine?

    Don't miss out on the opportunity to win a free bottle of wine every week.

    Enter our weekly prize draw today!


      About Basil Tant

      Basil Tant, a highly revered wine connoisseur and sommelier, brings over 15 years of expertise to Black Wine Club. He holds a deep understanding of the art and science of wine, built on a lifelong passion for viniculture. Known for his astute palate and deep knowledge of international varietals, Basil has curated renowned wine collections globally. His intricate tasting notes and insightful commentaries have earned him a well-deserved reputation in the wine world. With his engaging style, Basil brings to life the world of wine, providing readers with invaluable knowledge on tasting, pairing, and collecting. Let Basil be your guide on this journey through the captivating universe of wine.

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