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Cursed - can no longer drink regular red wine!

I've been having the suspicion that I was slowly becoming allergic to red wine for months since everytime have red wine I get really stuffy and flushed. This past weekend I had an immediate reaction to a mouthful of Simard (one of my favorites that I've been drinking for years).

Most people think it's the sulfites. I know there are organic wines without sulfites but am I truly destined never to have a great French wine again? <sigh>

ANy thoughts or help MUCh appreciated.

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  1. If you have some suggestions for wines that Jonathan might have less of a reaction to, please share them. But Chowhound isn't a medical site, so please keep the discussion chowish.

    1. If sulfite are your problem, you will find NO wines without them. Some always is in the grapes.
      Wineries may choose to not add them. Some whites have very low sulfites, but get a test first.

      Try rieslings. Chenin Blancs, etc.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bruce in SLO

        Thanks. I get less of a reaction from whites so i'm good there. I'm hoping that there are reds out there that I can still drink that are also drinkable.

      2. If white wines don't bother you, then it is surely not sulfites, as it is in all wines, even organic ones.

        It sounds like you have a histamines reaction. Try taking a Sudafed next time before you drink a red wine and see if it helps. As one ages, one could develop new or intensify allergies. If taking a Sudafed helps, you should consult your doctor to see if you have an allergy that could be treated.

        1 Reply
        1. re: DaveSit

          Yes, and white wines have more SO2 added, generally, to preserve freshness, so likely not sulfites and probably a histamine reaction.

          Here's a link to a page on sulfites and wines that Prof. Andy Waterhouse at UC Davis updates -

          Sulfites don't cause wine headaches even though people often point to them.

        2. Supposedly some people are allergic to the tannins in red wine. My sister had the same problem.

          She started taking allergy medicine, and it essentially went away over time. Now she is a full-fledged red wine lush again!

          1. Did you have any major dental work before this allergy started surfacing?

            1. I've known people who developed apparent red-wine allergies who could drink wines that were say six or more years old without problems. Worth experimenting.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Robert - never heard of that but definitely worth trying. Any suggestions?

                1. re: Jonathan Saw

                  Spanish Rioja reservas would be a category of red wine with some age on them that you should be able to find readily at retail.

                  1. re: Jonathan Saw

                    Whatever you can find.

                    I'm always buying weird older stuff on closeout. Currently I'm working my way through a couple of cases each of the 1998 Luca Abrata "Casteloé" barbera (paid $6 or $7 a bottle?) and the 2000 Meerlust "Rubicon" ($20).

                2. You have my sympathies!

                  There was a discussion last spring about wine reactions - it started with headaches, and branched out to allergic reactions and the like. Perhaps you'll see something helpful here: