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Cursed - can no longer drink regular red wine!

Jonathan Saw Sep 20, 2006 12:34 PM

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. The Chowhound Team RE: Jonathan Saw Sep 20, 2006 01:44 PM

    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. b
      Bruce in SLO RE: Jonathan Saw Sep 20, 2006 02:07 PM

      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
        Jonathan Saw RE: Bruce in SLO Sep 20, 2006 05:50 PM

        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. d
        DaveSit RE: Jonathan Saw Sep 20, 2006 05:38 PM

        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
          Melanie Wong RE: DaveSit Sep 20, 2006 08:59 PM

          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. MaggieMuffin RE: Jonathan Saw Sep 20, 2006 05:49 PM

          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. j
            jackattack RE: Jonathan Saw Sep 20, 2006 05:51 PM

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

            1. Robert Lauriston RE: Jonathan Saw Sep 20, 2006 06:36 PM

              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
                Jonathan Saw RE: Robert Lauriston Sep 20, 2006 08:43 PM

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

                1. re: Jonathan Saw
                  Melanie Wong RE: Jonathan Saw Sep 20, 2006 09:00 PM

                  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
                    Robert Lauriston RE: Jonathan Saw Sep 20, 2006 09:11 PM

                    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. AnneInMpls RE: Jonathan Saw Sep 22, 2006 01:17 AM

                  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:



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