There is a Red Wine Headache syndrome, sometimes called RWH. Yes, this is a real phenomenon and there are many who are looking for a cause and some relief. But is the headache caused by the sulfites in wine?
To date, there is no evidence to suggest that headaches and wine are related to a specific element such as sulfites.
Some winemakers do add sulfites, but it is also worth noting that a 'natural' component in grape skins is sulfites. Sulfite is also a by-product of the fermentation process when yeast is added, therefore any wine, and every wine is likely to contain sulfites.
Grape skins also produce histamines which would explain why some people have a sensitivity to red wine.
Let's go one step further and check out some of the foods we might eat everyday that contain sulfites.
Not to be flippant, but do you walk around with a headache everyday after eating these foods? I wouldn't think so. You'd be quite miserable trying to get through the work day with a headache everyday.
- baked goods
- soup mixes
- canned vegetables
- vegetable juices
- dried fruits (bananas, apricots, pineapple, etc.)
- bottled lemon and lime juices
- bottled tea
- apple cider and sparkling grape juice
- foods in a salad bar
There could be other reasons why you may have a headache when you drink wine; perhaps you are drinking wine on an empty stomach, or you may have had too many glasses of wine.
Grape skins also produce histamines which would explain why some people have a sensitivity to red wine. Or you may have an allergic reaction to the alcohol or the tannins in the wine.
You should also know that a typical reaction to sulfite sensitivity would be signs of breathing problems, and those who are asthmatic may experience a headache.
So next time you indulge in a glass of wine and get a headache it could possibly be that you have a sensitivity to the alcohol, grape tannins, or the histamines.
Drink responsibly and if you are sensitive to wine enjoy club soda with a lime twist. It's refreshing and good for you.