The headeaches that most people get after consuming wine is often linked more to the fact that they consumed alcohol in excess and no enough water, than to the fact that they drunk wine itself.
However there are instances that people do get headaches even after consuming a small amount of wine. This is due to three main facts: Tannins, Sugar and histamines
Tannins are naturally occurring compounds that exist inside grape skins, seeds and stems – See our blog on Tannins. To most of us, tannins do not generate headaches at all. If anything, tannins are a great antioxidant. To ascertain whether tannins are responsible for your headaches, do a test: brew a cup of black tea and let the tea steep for five or ten minutes longer than suggested. Black tea is strong in tannins and over-steeping the tea will ensure they are all released into the water. Drink the tea and see if you get a headache. If you indeed do get the headaches due to wine tannins, avoid wines such as new Cabernet Sauvignon from Bordeaux’s Left Bank, Tempranillo, Nebiollo, Sangiovese, Malbec and Tannat.
Alcohol and sugar are two substances that when combined can create a powerful headache. When your body consumes alcohol or sugar, you need lots of water in order to help process the substances. If you are not well hydrated, your body starts to pull the necessary water it needs from other parts or your body, including your head. As the liquid in your head starts to deplete, a headache forms. To prevent this problem, avoid sweet dessert wines and white wines such as Riesling that are labelled semi-dry or sweet (if you enjoy Riesling but don’t want the sugar headache, make sure the wine is labelled as dry). Also, to be avoided are cheaper wines, which tend to have more sugar since mass producers add sugar during fermentation in order to boost the alcohol.
Histamines are chemicals that are released when we have an allergic reaction and can cause symptoms such as a runny nose, dry eyes and a headache. Recent research has found that food and drinks that have been aged, such as dry aged meats and red wines, can cause our body to release histamines and create these allergy-type symptoms. To prevent a histamine headache, simply take a histamine blocker such as claritin prior to having a glass of red wine.
Remember, drinking wine is about joy, happiness and in the right amounts and part of a healthy diet, promote health.
Our advice is to follow drinkaware.co.uk advice on alcohol consumption