Wine allergies

Oct 25

Man, I so did not even know wine allergies existed.

I had a glass of wine last night—McManis Cabernet Sauvignon to be exact—and not even a whole glass of wine but one of my wimpy half-a-glass deals. And when Simon woke me up at 4 in themorning I thought: I must be coming down with the flu or something. Stuffed nose, itchy eyes, sore throat, and generally feeling as though a steamroller had done its best to flatten me a couple hundred times during the night.

Darin let me sleep in today, and when I was finally conscious I said, Either I am coming down with the worst cold in the world, or there was something about that wine. So I clicked around a bit (the modern answer to every problem!) and discovered wine allergies.

From allergies.about.com:

The common question is “Can I be allergic to alcohol?” Although alcohol can be the culprit, it usually is not. The culprits are usually the additives used in the manufacturing process. Some of the possible culprits include:

    Brewers yeast

    Corn

    Eggs

    Grapes

    Molds

    Sulfites

    Pesticides

I am: bereft. It took me a while to prefer red wine over white wine (that is, to become a wine snob). And now this!

I assume that if any of those ingredients could cause this allergy then it’s not necessarily the wine that’s caused this head cold. But it’s not the kind of testing I want to do a lot of, you know?

409 comments

  1. I just started having an allergic-type reaction to wine. In my 50′s and never had this before. My head is very stuffy the next day after drinking a glass of white wine – usually pinot grigio. I like the dry whites. I also found I have celiac disease or gluten-intolerance this year. Not sure if they are related. I appreciate other people’s comments and info. Its nice to be able to enjoy a glass of wine. I did find that the pear wine they sell at Nashoba vineyards in my state – Mass – did not cause the stuffy head (really nice wine. As someone else mentioned, the fruit wines may be ok. Luckily in New England we have lots of wineries that make fruit based wines. I got interested in them and have been working on a website focused just on new england wineries. its very much under construction but check on it in the future if you like. http://www.thegrowingvine.com

  2. My reaction is as SEVERE as as it gets! I too love red wine. My symptoms started gradual over the YEARS then became extremely severe. At first I’d get a flushed face and slight cough. I chalked it up to the first sip. Then as things graduated…….flushed face, slight cough and burning tongue. Eventually as things progressed………..my tongue actually cracked and the burning was severe. Next……..I had a severe burning sensation the entire whole way down my esophagus and into my stomach. I would salivate uncontrolablly and I had a constant gnawing in my stomach. I would constantly put food in there to try to make it stop. It stopped for only an hour or so then start again. I thought I had a stomach ulcer. I visited my doctor and she ordered blood tests. It turns out my liver enzymes are elevated. I truly believe it is from an allergic reaction to the sulphites in the red wine. I think my liver must have been screaming to STOP the red wind.(If only I were aware of the signs) My next test is an abdominal ultrasound then more blood work. It is so not worth it to continue to drink the stuff especially when it starts to take a toll on your health. If anybody notices any of these symptoms…..STOP NOW. Listen to what your body is telling you ! ! ! !

  3. Rebecca Oulton /

    You may have saved my husband’s life. His health has been deteriorating over the last three years. He had problems with his equilibrium, suffered with frequent ear aches, had severe sinusitis, endured morning retching, had headaches, was unable to drink coffee tea or fruit juice, had indigestion and heartburn, suffered daily diarrhea, had a dreadful cough, and was thoroughly miserable. He felt he was dying. The doctors offered no help. Early one morning, a search string brought me to your web site. I asked my husband if he would skip drinking wine for one evening. He was pretty stressed, but agreed and had a few mixed drinks instead. When he woke up the next morning, he was “cured”. It has been two weeks now. You have given my husband back his health – - – and his life. Thank you so very much, and may God bless you for blessing us.

  4. I love red wine and that is about the only alcohol I drink because at least it has some good health properties to it (good for the heart). I am 45 years old. About five years ago or so I had some tests done because when I went to sleep or tried to go to sleep my throat would bother me (felt like it was smaller, had problems swallowing). The docter could not find anything. Shortly after that in the spring, I developed nasal problems, watery eyes, congestion. It was written off to allergies probably pollen because the pollen is so bad in S.C. I was put on a prescription allergy medicine (Allegra D). Over the years going to routine doctor visits and discussing these symptoms a doctor said I was probably having a reaction to alcohol or the red wine I was drinking. I have been able to manage my symptoms when I drank wine (one glass a night 3 to 5 nights a week) until about 2 months ago when I can down with a rash. I don’t know how my body has changed but my consumption had not. This is a miserable rash. I am going to stop drinking all together and see if it goes away. Hopefully with increased water intake and a Benedryl and no alcohol I’ll be able to sleep better soon. Open to suggestions.

  5. Jan Cosgrove [Mr] /

    I thought I was experiencing panic/anxiety attacks – got medication on that basis – but began to suspect it might be red wine linked. Symptoms – huge adrenalin rush, extreme anxiety feelings, shaking, nausea, the runs next day, and completely washed out, also feeling trouble breathing. Could be anxiety-related. But left red wine alone for over a year. Recently, had about 1/3rd glass, symptoms returned for 1st time for a year. Still not sure it was not anxiety related. However, just cut short pre-Xmas visit to good friends in France. Unknown to me, one of the meals they cooked had red wine in it – violent re-occurence of all symptoms, trashed me so much I cut short my stay. So I’m off to my doc for tests to sort this out for once and for all. Been able to drink white and rose, but feeling off all alcohol at the moment.

  6. Reading these posts is fascinating. I had a really bad breakout of rashes and hives (urticaria) about 8 months ago. I went to see the doctor who told me it was something I injested but could not pinpoint what it was, so he told me what kinds of foods to avoid. Wine was one of them. Eight months later, I still breakout in bumps and feel flushed, but I’m starting to think it’s wine that’s causing this reaction, though I am still uncertain if I have developed a sensitivity to food preservatives. Either way, recently I had an Argentinean Malbec one evening only to wake up in the middle of the night feeling hot, flushed, and itchy. These symptoms along with the swollen and puffy eyes, and general fatigue and foggyness lasted about 48 hours. Last night I had some red wine again, only to wake up in the middle of the night with heart palpitations. Today I have the red bumps on my body again but it’s not quite as bad as it has in the past. Going forward I will abstain from all wine and see how things go. Though I don’t want to blame my problems entirely on wine, I believe that it’s one of the culprits of my malaise.

  7. Allow me to join in the party. I bought some chardonnay, then went for a lovely snuggle with my boyfriend. I broke out in hives and began to get asthmatic. I have been drinking Pinot Grigio for a long time…have eczema…itchy eyelids. . the whole 9 yards but now this gigantic rash! I feel some oak-related allergy may be the cause. I do not drink red wine as I get the dreaded headache. I cannot eat dried apricots without having difficulty breathing. I am joining the club but will have trouble giving up wine!

  8. I wanted to post an update to my post #306. I couldn’t help myself over the holidays and had a glass of Blanc de Blanc, a glass of Kistler Chardonnay, and a glass of French Burgundy. Luckily, no problems. I’m starting to think wine isn’t the problem necessarily, but whatever the reason for my break outs is, wine occasionally triggers something. Thankfully, it isn’t the sole reason for the break outs. I’m thinking I have an allergy to preservatives. More updates to come I’m sure!

  9. Roberto /

    I have been having bumps resembling mosquito bites (but bigger), swollen lip and cheek, sometimes, ans itchy palms. I always enjoyed wines (white and red), and sometimes champagne on special occasions. Many people I mention this to start to talk about sulfites, but i’m not sure if that is a cliche or if its the reason. I have yet to experiment with other types of alcohol (whiskey, vodka, etc…) but sometimes i also get a wheezing sensation…. cafeful

  10. I like stuff /

    I too sneeze & get stuffed up when drinking wine. Specifically, I sneeze a couple times quickly, then a brief pause and a third, then a longer pause and a fourth. Occassionally after a long pause there is a fifth. Then I’m mildly congested for a few minutes, then I’m fine.

    I have the same reaction with beer, basically any food (I unscientifically tested this), and – believe it or not – ejaculation, of all things.

    I don’t remember being this way when young, it’s developed over the past 10 years or so (I’m 38). It’s not debilitating right now, but I’m worried it will progress and become intolerable.

  11. I stumbled upon this site when I searched for ‘wine allergy’ out of curiosity and also because of symptoms I have that I’m not sure are related to the sine. I must say I’m very surprised with the vast number of responses contributing to this issue. It was impossible for me to go through all of the posts but I did find many useful informations. I did some additional reseach of medical papers and as an MD I came to the following conclusions:
    - allergic reactions come in different forms and degrees of severity.
    - the most severe form of allergy: hypersentivity, anaphylaxis involves swelling of membranes of the oral, nasal and airway, extensive skin rash, hives, can be debilitating and even life threatening. It may be difficult to determine the allergic substance but it would be wise for the sufferers to avoid such drink in the future.
    - more commonly, the reaction is less severe. The so called alcohol nasal symptoms: stuffiness, runny nose is well recognized and can occur with any alcolic drinks but probably more commonly with wine. Histamines, tannins, sulfites and alcohol itself have all been implicated but individually cannot be explained as the sole cause as they are all present in abundance in other food and drinks that do not cause the problem. It may well be that collectively they contribute to a reaction especially in people who are prone to be allergic (atopic). Regardless, it has been found that taking a longer acting antihistamine such as loratadine (Claritin) and the likes can partially alleviate the symptoms.
    - another form of nasal symptoms (rhinitis) may not even be due to allergy. This is called vasomotor rhinitis. Antihistamine is not very helpful here.
    - headache from alcohol is also poorly understood. I personally find it to be very unpredictable and seemingly more correlated to the amount of alcohol and the person’s underlying health situation.

    - a different form of nasal symptoms (rhinitis)

  12. HI! I am so glad to find this website. I have just come in from my favorite Japanese restaurant and have drank only one glass of my favorite plum wine…and I have the same symptoms I have always had after drinking this wine! Mind you, they are not as severe as they have been in the past, which is why I am able to type. But, nevertheless, I have experienced the same symptoms.

    First, it starts with pain under my shoulder blades, in the back. It is like a pressure, of sorts. Then, the pain works its way up my shoulders. I get this sensation of something going through my veins. I can literally feel the pressure in my veins, followed or accompanied by pain and burning in the pains. It literally feels as if I have had an injection of something. It gets worse as it goes down my arms, into my hands and fingers. It throbs, etc., and hurts. Then, my heart starts racing fast.

    I have known for a long time that I am allergic to sulfur, as it relates to hair care products. I never made the connection about the sulfites in the wine. I have also known that I have allergies as they relate to mold in the air (mildew especially), but, I never made the connection about mold in wine. And, I am notorious in our family and circle of friends for bad allergy problems as they related to histamines (I get shots ever six months for them). But, I never thought about histamines in wine. It all makes perfect sense.

    I knew to “cut” the effects of the wine to drink water in between sips of wine. So, I was doing that tonight, which may have helped lessen the severity of the usual effects. I also have been taking antihistamines for seasonal allergies. So they may have helped me, too.

    It is funny, though, because, we visited my inlaws over the holidays and they had some red wine in a box. The red wine caused me no problems whatsoever. But, the plum wine….whew!

    Thanks for the the posts!

  13. Hi, I seem to develop allergies after long term exposure. The wine allergy is new. I too sneeze after my first glass of white wine, and sometime get a stuffy, runny nose and an itchy throat. My eczema has been the worst I have ever known it, especially around my upper chest and throat. My hands have swollen – mainly my fingers- and are covered in eczema. My face has started to look puffy and my skin has gone bad – very dry. Last week I had my first ever migraine after a night in with Frascati. I wonder if this is a link to pesticides? All wine triggers it – I can’t narrow it down any more.

  14. I drink alot of red wine, always dry and very dark reds and I get a really sore red tongue and roof of the mouth, lips get dry and sore. What is it in the wine that causes this! Would love to know as I think I am gonna have to give up my red wine!

  15. Wow! It blows me away to see all this suffering! Is this all over the world? Last night I had one glass of a shiraz/cab blend from Australia and by the time I got home the back of my neck was so tight and my head was pounding. I felt like I was getting the flu! I wonder if there is something other than sulfites in cheaper wine because I will buy Organic and still feel really awful after 2 glasses. White wine is not as bad, however I still have the flu like symptoms from white. I can’t imagine a life without enjoying a glass or 2 of wine a few times a week.

  16. I am slowly recovering from the most intense headache, nausea, vomitting and palpitation episode from drinking a glass of wine about 48 hours ago. Each and every time I decide that it simply can’t be the wine, so I’ll have a glass, just this once!, I end up like this. So, as I still feel like hell, and can do very little else, I decided to surf the web and was shocked to find how totally uneducated I was on this whole sulfite saga. Thank you all for personal stories and info. which have given me a whole new perspective. No glass of wine is worth this suffering, I wonder whether ciders will be any better? What A Pity! I live in the beautiful wine growing area of Stellenbosch in South Africa, producers of some of the best wine world wide!

  17. Caroline Morrell /

    I love red wine but my hands and feet itch during the night. there is no visible rash!! I am allergic to aspirin-does anyone know of any connection! I love my reds and would find it hard to give it up! Tis my way of relaxing!!
    Help!!

  18. I am 52 and have been tested for allergies to pollens, etc. and everything came back negative. Recently I’ve noticed that I am getting colds very frequently. I blamed it on my new job with children but I have been able to determine that they come on usually on a Monday after drinking red wine over the weekend. I became suspicious that they are really colds because no one else in my family gets them. I get headaches and sinus blockage and sore throat, etc. The symptomes last for days. After reading all these posts I remember that in college I would develop little blisters on my hands after a night of drinking vodka. I also gave up drinking white wine because my stomach would be messed up for weeks. I blamed that on the acidity.
    I am going to give up red wine and see if my colds are less frequent. I understand people enjoying a glass of wine but if it makes you sick – why do it?

  19. zzzkitty /

    I have recently developed a problem when drinking wine, and sometimes other types of alcohol. i never had a problem when young, just in my 50′s. I have read that it could be a sensitivity to the insect content, and my mother was allergic to wasps and could not drink wine without getting sick. I have also read that it could be an enzyme deficiency. However, I thought I would write because I have discovered, strangely enough, that some cheeses totally stop the redness. I start eating a few ounces of cheese, and the flush dies away after a few minutes. Then I can drink my glass of wine with no effect. Cheddar seems to work the best, especially the Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese that I like, but other cheeses have been successful as well. This is extremely strange, and I don’t know why it works, but it has on numerous occasions now. I turned red at someone’s house recently, and asked for cheese, and it once more helped. I love wine, so I thought I would share the info. Hope it helps someone else!

  20. zzzkitty /

    Oops – forgot to relate my symptoms. My face and ears turn red to varying degrees depending on the wine, and my arms itch.

    And about the insects; apparently it is the hymenoptera (wasps, bees, ants)venom content in the wine that causes the problem.

  21. Arlene /

    Finally – I am not alone!!! I LOVE wine and developed an allergy to reds in my early 30′s, now at 42, whites have turned on me. With reds I get immediately flushed & have a heads-up to stop. With whiles, some make me sneeze (so I stop those) but others are fine… until the next morning; swollen eyelids that itch like crazy & develop into scaley flaking skin and hives on my neck and chest. I live in Santa Barbara where the wines are wonderful!!! And I now can’t drink vodka mixed with any citrus- same reaction. So I will try the claritin, the organic and the sulfite free wines- never give up! Never surrender!!!

  22. Jill /

    I had a horrible experience the other night. After 3 glasses of chardonnay, I ate a bunch of fresh fruit (mostly strawberries and grapes). I was completely drunk out of my mind and started throwing up violently. It took 2 days to recover. I regularly drink 3-4 glasses a night while cooking dinner and relaxing after dinner. Could the sugar in the fruit and wine make me that much drunker than usual and make me that ill? I don’t get it.

  23. Frank Webber /

    All wines have naturally occurring sulphites.

    Personally, I cannot drink any Whites whatsoever. I can enjoy Port and Reds.

    White wines (Champagne, sparkling etc.) are absolutely loaded with sulphites. The vintners add a lot in addition to the naturally occurring ones to prevent these wines from turning brown.

    Red wines (Port, all the different grapes etc.) naturally do have more sulphites than the Whites. However, considerably less is added by the Vintners.

    Port has the least amount added due the higher alcohol content and the super concentrated amount of tannins.

    California reds are know to have a lot of sulphite added to them. Certainly there are other regions as well.

    The main factor for added sulphite is to extend the shelf-life and collection life of the wine. All red wines without it would fall apart in three or four years. White wines would be turning brown (oxidising) within a few months.

    The problem is the consumer with the labels, does not know how much sulphite is in there. “Contains Sulphites” is pretty vague. The real reason is, if people really knew how much was added, they would likely be much more careful as to how much sulphite you were drinking.

    Most of the so called “Organic Wines” is a not true either. Organically grown vines yes, but not when it comes to the bottling the sulphites are added. There are very few wines which are “Organic” at every step of the vintnering process. And even so, if you are hyper sensitive to sulphites then even “Organic” wine is out of the question due to them naturally occurring in the grapes which is then concentrated even more in the process.

    The nice part is you can explore the wonderful world of beer which is much larger than the world of wine. Micro brews all over the world and every country has different styles and preferences. In many ways I often find beer to be more complex and satisfying.

  24. christine /

    Like so many people here, I have a list of increasing symptoms, and no answers! But I want to thank everyone for their input which makes me realise I am not alone.

    I’m 52 and have noticed over the last few years increasing sensitivity to some antibiotics–usually hives, or itching/burning hands and feet. Now this past year I have found myself having a strange syndrome which I have only recently connected to what I’ve been eating/drinking! (Could have been going on for longer and I just have always thought it was a virus or something.) Seems daft, but the symptoms are spread out over several days–starts with fatigue, stomach discomfort (no nausea or vomiting like some people, just discomfort under ribcage and appetite loss), and the very sore throat–at which point I think I am coming down with cold or flu. Then around third day, hives.

    On a couple of occasions I’ve questioned chefs about what they’ve used in food, but now I am thinking it might be wine, as for so many people here. Tho I only have one glass, two at most, once in a while. Probably not the sulfites, as I don’t think I have a problem with molasses, dried fruit, etc. Perhaps the histamines, as I do have seasonal allergies….

    What’s infuriating,and a common theme here, is the sporadic nature of this thing, so it’s very hard to pin down the source or identify the culprit. Just when I thought it was white wine, I cooked last night with some left-over red (a good Rioja) and in the late evening and still today (not the three days later I’ve noticed before) I’m itchy and tingly all over, but especially the face. However no sore throat or flu-like feelings…
    The increasing allergies to whatever-it-is put a dent in my recent vacation (had one glass of a lovely Falanghina with dinner and felt ill with sore throat and fatigue for three days…. but could be preservatives in food as well? like Chuck above, I wonder about both) and in a week I am going away to France (cote du rhone area!!) and then England (to be with my wine-loving family!) and I am now afraid to eat or drink anything!! Though we all know that won’t stop me!! :-)

    Obviously while away, and even more once I’m back home, I will have to keep a good food journal, eliminate all possible culprits, and then gradually introduce things one at a time….

    I suspect Dr Dan D of post 311 is right, it’s not so much one particular ingredient as it is a combination.

    All I know is, the older I get, the more allergic I am to lots of things. I’ve always tried to eat a good diet, no junk food, few processed food with lots of ingredients…but now I will have to be even more careful.
    It is mysterious and very annoying when the reaction lasts for several days and affects quality of life.

    Thanks to all for these posts. If I ever pin down the culprit/s, I’ll let you know!

    Christine

  25. Pat /

    My husband makes good quality red wine here at home. He’s been making it for about 30 years and enjoys drinking his own, plus good commercial wines. He always has two glasses before dinner, and thats all. No more – no less. He never overindulges!
    Problem is that in the past 6 months he has developed a wheezing in his chest, and a horrible cough. He went to the doc and had a chest/lung xray, plus other tests and they came out fine.
    I have suspected that it’s the wine, but he doesn’t agree. He continues to drink it, and is getting worse.
    We were away from home for two days and he didn’t drink any wine. Got home tonight and he drank his usual two glasses. His coughing was so bad that i thought I was going to have to take him to the ER. It was really scary. Of course it has to be the red wine, but I’n afraid he will die before he admits it! DOES ANYONE ELSE GET A BAD COUGH?

  26. Shirl /

    One year ago, I started breaking out in itchy bumps on my chest, neck, arms and legs. Then my chin became scaly and red, I thought it was rosachia. I started buying creams for rosachia and psoriasis. I then switched from reds to white wine. My face got a little better, the scaly chin went away. But recently, in the last two days, I started having diarrhea in the morning. I have at least two glasses of wine every night. I became suspicious and decided to lookup side effects of wine, which is how I found this website, I had no idea how wine can make your body so sickly. I am now going to listen to my body, which started with itchy bumps, now diarrhea, what’s going to be next, something major? Don’t ignore your body’s messages. By the way, I’m 57 year old.

  27. Irene /

    This website says the “red wine headache” may be a metabolic problem, and not an allergy at all:
    http://www.beekmanwine.com/prevtopbd.htm
    I am inclined to agree, as it runs in my family.

  28. lysee /

    For me i get really bad headaches- Migrane quality and just feel crappy the next day.The only thing thats saves me is the Migrane meds i will take the next morning when i wake up and i feel lik ei havebeen run over by a truck.

    I live in beautiful wine country. Its all around me.Everyone wants to go out to dinner and have some the local faire.
    I have been told that I am allergic to mold. I am not allergic to sulfites. I can eat dried fruit with no problem. I personally feel its the yeast and sugars in the wine. I can’t tolerate Beer either. Sometimes i saty away and feel great, but eventually i have some and I am sick again.
    Its realy not worth it.

  29. ginz /

    Reading through all your varying symtoms makes me wonder why we are still drinking red wine.. I love red wine and too get the sytmoms you are all expressing, however with some reds particularly – the driest of them, i cant seem to drink merlot or cab sav, + cheaper brands>>> I get the flu like symtones + i get lockjaw. The bottom of my face gets numb-like and i feel extreme tensness in my jaws under my ears and a unstaiable thirst for water. So you may be thinking i had too many>> this is ony after about one and half glasses. i am assumign it the sulphites or tannins that i reach for the antistamines for release. IN my youth i could drink any kind of wines. but since getting older, this development of physical reation to red wine is a bit worrying. Preservatives ( aka sulphites) has to be the main cause, surely they dont make wine liek they used to. so now i stop drinking it and i enjoy a glass of champagne or white wines these days.
    i can understand as individauls we all react differntly we are made up with differnt immune systems, therfore have differnt degress of reactions. anyway cheers all G

  30. I drink a glass or two of wine about 3 times a week and have for years. I am 49. The last month, the first sip or two of wine (and just the first sip or two), I almost instantly have a dry cough and a slight tingling, I guess, in the lung area. I of course am thinking something serious may be wrong, but upon reading all this, did any of you start like this? No other symptoms. THanks.

  31. No one has mentioned about black stools after drinking red wine -No it is not blood in my stools I have been tested.My son also gets this when drinking red wine I would be interested to hear if anyone else has this sympton and was too shy to mention…….

  32. Melissa /

    I drink several glasses of wine when I am cooking dinner. I have for years. Lately I have had a sorethroat and symptoms of acid reflux. Do you think it could be from the wine? I hate to think I have to give it up.

  33. legalsmartz /

    I am 44 and have always loved a nice cabernet. Recently I experienced the worst “sinus infection” I have ever had, 400.00 and 3 antibiotics later the symptoms finally went away. I never equated the fact that at the same time the symptoms were ceasing I had decided to drink martinis to “knock myself out” due to not being able to sleep. When I got home I went to my favorite spot and purchased 2 bottles of my favorite cabernet and after one glass I started sneezing I thought it was something in my home but then the next night I had 3 glasses and woke up in the middle of the night with my throat closed and my sinuses blocked and my head so congested that I can’t think. My man thought I was allergic to him but then I came to this site and WOW was all I could say. I feel like I was slowly killing myself and didn’t even know it. Thank you for sharing your stories and saving my life!

  34. Destiny /

    Red wine for the past couple of years has been causing some really bad acid reflux, but I’ve largely ignored it and continued drinking 1-2 glasses with dinner at least four nights a week. I have also been experiencing panic-attack symptoms over the past few years, increasing in the past year. I’ve has a few unexplained rashes as well. Tonight it all came together, I was drinking more wine then normal (drank about 1/2 a bottle) and broke out in a rash on my wrist, following quickly by a feeling of panic, ringing in my ears and tighting in my throat. I am still up at 12:45am hoping the symptoms will go away so I can get some sleep. My daughter brought fruit roll ups in the house and I had one of those while drinking my wine and I hear that could of increase the systems. I love wine, but its not worth this. Dumping out the rest of my bottle now and no more for me except for very special occasions of one or two glasses and no dried fruit!

  35. Renee /

    Does anyone have a reaction to other alcohols as well? I have heart palpitations, burning eyes, and an awful headache when I drink wine but also from other types of alcohol as well. I am wondering if it is preservatives- I do have a reaction to sulfites in food as well so maybe this is it. Also, has anyone found anything to lesson the symptoms?

  36. I found the almost PERFECT solutions to a hangover and/or wine headache. I accidentally discovered that Renew Life’s First Cleanse prevents a hangover. I was taking the supplements for a cleansing program. During this time, I drank too much one night. The next morning I was headache and hangover free. I tried taking the supplements again after drinking and had the same results. I have an allergy to red wine and absolutely cannot drink it no matter what. I feel sick, my heart races and I feel like I’m going to pass out. With white wine, I just get the usual headaches. So after drinking white wine or mixed drinks, I will take two of the nighttime supplements, and in the morning take two of the morning supplements. Works like a charm. It may or may not work for you, but it will not change the symptoms of your allergy. I believe it is cleansing the liver of toxins and, therefore, prevents my body from feeling so awful later. If you try it, read the ingredients to make sure it is the right product for you. I am not promoting it, just telling you it works for me.

  37. Suzanne /

    I have been terrified i thought i may have cancer in the mouth, have been to doctors twice and no answers. My tongue,roof of my mouth and gums burn like i have pepper on them, this has been ongoing for 5 weeks some days are not as bad as others by the end of the day its at its worst. i was having 2 glasses of red almost every night, now i have stopped. How long before i see the symptoms subside? This is scaring the hell out of me.

  38. Thanks for all your comments, it has really helped me. About 3 Months ago I was cleaning around my apartments and allover sudden I felt so dissy, so I blamed I started feeling very lightheaded and since i had just started a detox diet I thought that was the cause so i stopped and ate normal food, but it didn´t go away, so i went to see the Dr. whom I have been going to for the last 20 years, after doing a blood test he said he found no infection only things that my blood test showed was a massive allergic reaction, i had taken 1 or 2 glasses of red wine 2 days before the blood test, so I thought that could have been the cause I reffrained from drinking red or any alcohol atll fro a couple of weeks, the dissiness and lightheadedness went away. Last night I took 2 glasses of wine and alot of water to go with it and today I feel so lousy so I decided to check in the net, and that how I landed here. You know what I am conviced alcohol must be the cause and I can live without it !!my friend and confidant will rejoice as he hates the smell of wine in my breath.
    once again Thankyou and thank God for you all

  39. I experience swelling under one eyelid and in and above my mouth between 3 and 12 hours of drinking alcohol. The first time it happened was in England after drinking a beer called “bitter” which has a lot of live yeast. Since then I’ve tried to figure out what causes it and for me it’s certain ales, some wines, vodka, and much less so for whisky.

    My theory is that it’s a yeast allergy, but I often eat bread. I’m wondering if it’s only noticable in high doses which occurs in certain beer and wine.

  40. I have been drinking chardonnay for years. About 3 glasses a night as i cooked and ate dinner with absolutley no ill effects. About a year ago it turned on me and I feel like i went on a college-days-drunken-bender the next day. Headache, stuffy nose–totally crappy. And always a case of the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Switched to rose (had to search to find one that I liked enough to drink) and have no ill effects with that. Can occassionally get away with a sauvignon blanc but even those can get me–no way of knowing when I’m drinking it if it’s going to hurt me the next day or not. LOVE wine and not willling to give it up–but not many restaurants around here offer decent Rose-and nor do my friends keep it in stock. Turned 50 and wonder if my ability to process chardonnay just “ran out”. Bummed-I miss a good glass of Chard. Sniff! I might try allergy meds mentioned here or the cleanse pills that someone else mentioned. Anyone else have a varietal-specific problem?

  41. Grogged up /

    Wow stumbled on this because I was trying to find any relationship between runny poo and wine. I started reading and found many similar stories not about the runny poo but about the going red and sometimes having hives and sometimes pretty severe attacks.
    I cannot drink red wine as I end up looking like a b grade dracula. I drink Chardonnay and really like the feeling mostly and the taste, but have been suspecting I drink too much and too often and that it is effecting my health. I do know that you can buy preservative free wine but it is quite expensive. I am going to try it and see if any difference. Because I suspect it is not one thing but the combination of long term consumption, sulphites, fruit and preservatives. Will keep you posted.

  42. Thank you to everyone for the comments. Drank red wine few days ago (which I drink once every 6 – 12 mos). Never attributed the reaction to the red wine: swollen itchy red eyelids and face, almost ‘raw’ looking, hives, foggy & groggy going on 3 days now, cough, borderline nausea Nothing in my routine or time of year or seasons changed this time except the red wine

  43. Hi,

    You might want to see your dr and have your thyroid checked. I had similar over night icthiness, red rash and turned out my thyroid was off and my dr gave some meds and I am on the road to recovery.

    Chuck :

    Reading these posts is fascinating. I had a really bad breakout of rashes and hives (urticaria) about 8 months ago. I went to see the doctor who told me it was something I injested but could not pinpoint what it was, so he told me what kinds of foods to avoid. Wine was one of them. Eight months later, I still breakout in bumps and feel flushed, but I’m starting to think it’s wine that’s causing this reaction, though I am still uncertain if I have developed a sensitivity to food preservatives. Either way, recently I had an Argentinean Malbec one evening only to wake up in the middle of the night feeling hot, flushed, and itchy. These symptoms along with the swollen and puffy eyes, and general fatigue and foggyness lasted about 48 hours. Last night I had some red wine again, only to wake up in the middle of the night with heart palpitations. Today I have the red bumps on my body again but it’s not quite as bad as it has in the past. Going forward I will abstain from all wine and see how things go. Though I don’t want to blame my problems entirely on wine, I believe that it’s one of the culprits of my malaise.

  44. Delinquent /

    I read #12 with interest as my sister and I have had a similar reaction with the first sip of any alcohol–a pain or tightness of the shoulders and neck, that gradually decreases to nothing within an hour or so. I noticed a couple of years ago that I no longer have this reaction–and unexpectedly missed it because it was a good way to gauge whether that tasty cocktail had any actual alcohol in it. My mom told us that she had us tested as kids and that we were allergic to alcohol–but I suspect she was just saying that in hopes we wouldn’t drink. I never became much of a drinker anyway.

    Since I turned 50, though, I’ve noticed that occasionally when I drink wine [always white, I just don't care for red], my toes and feet will instantly swell up after the first sip. I don’t experience any of the other symptoms you folks mention… except itchy skin here & there, now that I think about it, so I’ll be watching that to see if there’s a link… but the swollen feet are annoying and may force me to give up wine. Has anyone else experienced this? I only drink one or two glasses per month and I may experience the swelling 3-4 times a year, so it’s totally unpredictable but does seem to be happening more frequently. My doctor had no clue.

  45. Shannon /

    thanks for your post and all the comments – wow! I too started with the itchy throat, running eyes, and crazy salivating as though I was going to be sick to my stomach. Sometimes just after a couple sips. It started with white, and now some reds (i’m constantly trying my luck!). I went to the doctor and she told me to lay off caffeine and alcohol for 1 month AND take probiotic vitamins (Lactobacillius Acidophilus & Bifidus – you can get this at any health store). IT WORKED! It was tough the first couple weeks, I was really tired and craving my Earl Grey tea. I switched to Green tea (which may still have caffeine but it’s benefits out way that I guess). Unfortunately my symptoms did return and I’m going at it again. Try it out and let me know if it helps you too!

  46. AnonyMiss /

    Hello all, I had to go to the emergency room yesterday when my eyelids swelled up! (Does anyone recall that scene in ‘Hitch’? – not quite as hideous but close!).

    I drink wine nearly every day (1-2 glasses), and enjoy many great meals with fellow wine lovers. Last Sunday was a marathon wine and food lunch lasting past sunset; the Wednesday night before yesterday’s ER visit was a fabulous pinot noir from Oregon to go with dinner a new French restaurant.

    Yesterday I woke up with a mildy red, swollen, and itchy right eyelid, but thank goodness we girls can cover up with make-up. I went to work as usual. By afternoon my staff were looking at me funny and trying as tacfully as possible to inquire about my eyes. 8-/ ? …8-O

    This has only happened to me once before about 5 years ago, but at the time I could not recall drinking wine before that ER visit – so the allergic reaction could be triggered by preservatives in food as well…because I am a junk food junkie too.

    The ER doctors did the same exact thing as last time: an anti-histamine and a steroidal via shot and IV, then oral maintenance and symptom-relief meds for the next few days. I still look horrendous – swollen red eyelids – but hopefully if I sweat it out on the treadmill later I can speed up the healing process.

    My amateur theory is that my body probably has a limit on how many preservative allergens it can handle at any given time, and I went One Glass Too Far on Wednesday night. I also probably don’t drink enough water. I don’t believe the quality or color of the wine has anything to do with it.

  47. Sympathetic /

    I can relate. I drink white wine but most bottles, particularly the cheaper ones, give me a stuffed nose, itchy nose and make me wheeze. Sometimes I will get ulcers in my mouth at the same time.

    I have noticed that it gets a lot worse if I drink the same bottle of wine the next day. I have been off wine for the last week and had some this evening, only to get the same reaction again!! The reason i am searching the web is because the bottle had – ‘Contains suplhites’ written in BIG letters so I thought there might be a link- seems I am not the only one!

  48. I had a feeling the reaction I was having was from Red Wine. It started about a month agao, itchy skin and erd areas on different parts of my body. I have hyper-allergenic skin as it is. The last week has been really bad, I wake up in the early AM itching everywhere, particularly my legs, upper arms and butt (lol). Also, I always have black loose stools the next day. After reading here I am pretty sure the itching is from the wine. I’m taking anti histamines which barely keeps it at bay and hoping it flushes out of my system soon.

    Great site!

  49. Barbara H /

    I’m miserable, and love the company on this website!
    For the last year, have been suffering with swelling inside my mouth, and the most wretched, blazing, humiliating diarrhea lasting about 24 hrs the day after drinking ANY kind of red wine.
    I love wine. I make my own, take winery tours, try the suggestions on wine websites.
    No more. My body will no longer tolerate even a glassful of organic stuff.
    But I’m so glad to know that this isn’t really all that uncommon.
    Back to beer, and on to the Oktoberfests!!!

  50. Barbara H /

    I’m miserable, and love the company on this website!
    In my 50′s now, and have been enjoying wines for about ten years.
    For the last year, have been suffering with swelling inside my mouth, and the most wretched, blazing, humiliating diarrhea lasting about 24 hrs the day after drinking ANY kind of red wine.
    I love wine. I make my own, take winery tours, try the suggestions on wine websites.
    No more. My body will no longer tolerate even a glassful of organic stuff.
    But I’m so glad to know that this isn’t really all that uncommon.
    Back to beer, and on to the Oktoberfests!!!