Food

Red Wine Makes Me Mean

So, I have a weird confession: Red wine makes me mean. If I have even one glass, my head feels like it’s in a vice and I become super irritable. So much so, in fact, that my old boyfriend used to warn, “Ends in tears, J. Ends in tears.”

Do you ever feel the same? I basically avoid it now entirely. (I’m more like this.)

But I’ve long been bewildered by these red wine headaches, and female friends often come out of the woodwork to say they get them, too. Here’s what the research says…

From America’s Test Kitchen:

The culprits, it turns out, are either sulfites or amines… If you’re allergic to sulfites, you’d also be allergic to a number of other foods, like crackers, pizza crust, canned tuna, pickles, olives, shrimp and dried fruit. So if you get headaches when you drink wine but not when you eat the foods above, you can rule out sulfites as the reason. For those of you who are allergic to sulfites, try drinking organic wines.

If it’s not a hangover, and you’re not allergic to sulfites, that leaves amines, a naturally occurring compound in fermented foods and beverages. Wine contains two kinds of amines, histamines and tyramines; histamines dilate blood vessels in the brain, while tyramines constrict them… Other foods with higher amine counts are cheese, sauerkraut, salami, flour tortillas, sourdough breads, horseradish and maraschino cherries.

From The Wall Street Journal:

Dan L. Keiller, president of the newly formed Medical Wine Interest and Education Society in San Diego, says several studies from Europe show that “red wines, in general, contain more histamine than Champagnes or sparkling wines and those usually contain more histamine than [still] white wines.” Indeed, headaches from red wine are so common that the phenomenon has its own name, “RWH syndrome” — that’s “red wine headache.”

“If you’re sensitive in general,” says Dr. Freitag [associate director of the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago] says, “most people tend to tolerate the wines from California, Washington and Oregon more than European wines.”

From The New York Times:

“The red wine headache is a real if poorly understood phenomenon,” says an article in the June issue of the Harvard Health Letter… There is actually a stigma to studying the subject. “I’ve entertained the idea of looking for grants to study this and I’ve been told, ‘Don’t go there, it’s bad P.R.,’ ” Dr. Freitag said.

“If you really like red wine,” Dr. Freitag said, “you should try different brands, different grapes, different countries of origin. That’s the only way you are going to find out.”

Here’s how to challenge yourself, if you must. Drink a half a glass of red wine; if it is going to give you a headache, it will do so within 15 minutes…Keep a journal.

And don’t confuse R.W.H. with the headache that comes six hours after a full evening of drinking. That’s called a hangover.

Thoughts? Do you ever get red wine headaches? I’m so curious to hear. It’s fascinating to me because I always get headaches after sandwiches with very spicy mustard (I remember complaining forever to Caroline after lunch one afternoon last fall), so I must have the amine/histamine/horseradish/red wine intolerance. Finally: solved!

P.S. By the way, we’d love to do more wine/cocktails coverage in coming months. Are there any topics or questions that you’d like to chat about?

(Photo: Gemma Arterton from Elle)

  1. I definitely had these for a few years! Then it switched and now I can drink red but I get a headache with white. IT MAKES NO SENSE!

  2. Certain wines definitely give me headaches. I started keeping a journal of those that did not give me headaches. Recently I’ve discovered that Italian reds don’t affect me that way but drinking any wine now makes my feet and hands itch!

  3. I have never had a red wine headache. Merlot is my favorite. I can not do white wine.

  4. I don’t get the means from red wine but I DO from vodka. No idea why… it’s obviously not the same culprit ;) But I can’t even touch vodka these days unless it’s paired with something that brings my mood back up, like red bull. It’s no great loss for me but it caused many a fight in university!

  5. Topic to discuss: how to avoid being awkward when you’re the only one not drinking

    I love your blog!

  6. I don’t get headaches, but I get REALLY hot deet and a rapidly beating heart. The hot feat has got to be from constriction of blood vessels, I think… it’s definitely a circulation issue of some sort. I’ve also read a lot about “holiday heart” which is very common complaint of rapid heart beat after red wine consumption. Must be a glutton for punishment, though, because I still continue to consume it….

  7. I love this article – I experience terrible, vice-like headaches after drinking Merlot wine. Both my husband and I avoid this wine like the plague. We have become fans of Cabs, Malbecs and other red wines. Thank you for giving a name to this condition.

  8. I’m definitely a white wine drinker but I keep hearing how good red wine is for your blood so I bought a bottle of Pinot Noir the other day. Guess it’s time to test it out :D

  9. I’m not a lover of any color of wine, but I do drink a teensy bit when at a party with friends just to ‘fit in’, so to speak… but red wine gives me a wicked headache, but I do like it’s flavor more than a white wine. Guess I should just stick with hard liquor. LOL

  10. ME TOO! Glad to read it’s not just me. All that research is fascinating. Hmmm..I hope it’s not sulfites for me!

  11. I’m french and here we only talk about a “white wine headache”, and I heard it’s because white wine have more sulfites in it (but I’m not scientist and maybe it’s just a common idea). And about the histamines, you can find them in cheese too, and pinot noir especially (in France we mix the variety of grapes so it’s different). Best is drinking organic and free sulfites wine !

  12. I love wine (living in France), but drinking 2 or more glasses of red wine, not white will make me wake up in the middle of the night with heart palpitations and a feeling of having had a shot of cafeine literally in my veins. It’s awful, especially in combination with a high protein dinner(steak)…

  13. I wouldn’t even mind that headache that much, but I also get extremely melancholic and tired that there is just now way an evening with red wine ends well. Also since prosecco and champagne do the opposite and make me giddy and optimistic I really see no reason to try any more red wine.

    Glad to know I’m not alone in this, I’ve only ever met people who simply don’t like (red) wine.

  14. So strange but I have a similar reaction to WHITE wine! Not so much at the time of drinking it, but I’ll wake up with the most intense headache the next day, and often wondered why it wasn’t so with red wine. Just different body chemistry perhaps??

  15. I love red wine (when I’m not pregnant) and it only makes me groggy and tired. Not mean. Silly, yes haha

    Happy Medley Blog

  16. Hi Jo! I get ’em too, but it depends on the wine. I have much better luck with big, fruity reds from California or Australia than any others… (perhaps it has something to do with the respective soils?) In any case, if I find one that DOESN’T kill me, it goes on our housewine list :) Now I have about 6 that I know I can drink when the mood hits me…

  17. I used to get awful migraines after drinking less than 1 glass of red wine…it was so bad, that I’m terrified to test it even years later. But I don’t react to any of the other foods on the list….

  18. As someone who works in the wine industry, this was a SUPER common complaint that I noticed almost exclusively in women! Very interesting (not sure the research there…just unofficial results of a Wine Club Manager :-) )

    Also, just an FYI there is no such thing as “organic wine”. Organically grown grapes, yes, but the wine itself, based on what naturally occurs in the fermentation and wine making process is never considered organic. Weird, but working for a winery of organic and bio-dynamically grown grapes, this has been hammered into my head!

  19. Absolutely get headaches from red wine. I figured this out when I was 20 or so and it’s now 18 years later. For a few years I would occasionally have a sip or half a glass. But after my last post-red wine migraine about 2.5 years ago I cut out red wine 100%. I haven’t noticed connection with the other histamine-rich foods but also never systematically paid attention. Thx for the tip – I’ve always wondered why I get these headaches, though I am in general prone to headaches.

  20. Love red wine and rarely a headache…but, often white wine gives me a headache! I think it hpggravates my allergies…no idea why or how!

  21. Lu says...

    It is well known in my household if I’ve had red wine, the evening will end in an argument. I can only have one glass, then I must drink water or the meanness will creep in. The headaches aren’t really an issue, but two glasses and “Shadow Lulu” comes out and apparently, she’s a real bitch!

  22. I love a cocktail hour and just had a chat with a friend about an older woman in her building who used to host neighbors for happy hour with cocktails once a month – hand written invitations and all. I love the idea! What a great way to get to know your neighbors. It’s also a great way to unwind from the day and reconnect with your spouse when you get home (a la Mad Men era). Maybe explore the many ways of happy hour, the history and present a challenge to bring it to life with family, new friends & old….

  23. When discussing cocktails/ wine, perhaps you might like to explore a post on recovery from alcohol. Nothing too deep, just the joys of simple living.

  24. Sadly, (or not so sadly,) red wine is not a problem for me. I love it and wish that I didn’t considering that fact that when my doctor asks about my alcohol intake I think,” Should I be honest or just say that I drink socially?” I live in Memphis where drinking during ANY occasion is common practice, but I can’t help but miss my lower tolerance…and smaller waistline.

  25. I have always complained about this. Friends tried to convince me I needed to buy more expensive wine. They brought over a $40 bottle. True some aren’t as bad, but it’s a hit and miss and not worth the headache! I can’t sleep when I drink it either. Rose however, is always a win!

  26. I have noticed that even white wine, if fermented in oak rather than stainless casks, gives me a headache. I think it could be that either the inevitable mold in damp wood or the oak pollen itself, sets me off. I look for California white wines that say “unoaked,” on the label. More vinters are using stainless casks- I’ve found nice selections.

  27. as a naughty 18 year old, and in my college years, drinking alcohol like tequila vodka and liquor never made me throw up or feel sick. until at age 22 when I had red wine. and I puked. EVERY WHERE at a friends classy get-together/ house warming party. it was terrible. to this day I can’t touch the stuff.

  28. I get read wine headaches as well! Not from every red wine but many and this is often accompanied by significant sinus congestion. Sometimes taking an anti-histamine before I drink it (like before I went on a winery tour) helps

  29. I always get white wine headaches! I seem to do fine with red…which is why i prefer it!

  30. This is so timely!!! Just this Saturday I had one glass of red and was immediately in a bad mood with a headache. The first time I had ever noticed it so drastically, and then this post! Thanks for the insight!

  31. If I say in all honesty, I love reading whatever you write about…..just keep posting!!!! It makes my day……I have no kids, live with a guy for the last 10 years and have a dog…..reading your posts just makes whatever happens to me normal. Thank you

  32. Yes, I can’t even sip red wine without bursting into a vicious headache. It’s so sad because it’s delicious and every now and then I’m tempted, but it’s not worth the hassle. I can do a glass of sparkling rose with no issues, but red will ruin my day/night.

  33. I second Abbie! I was going to suggest interviews with female bartenders. I’ve always considered being one and would love to hear about their experience.

  34. OHMYGOODNESS I’M NOT CRAZY!!!! I **hate** drinking red wines because I always get the most fantastic migraine-type headaches. People think I’m crazy when I say that, but it is so miserable that I put up with the teasing and head-shaking and comments about being a hypochondriac. I don’t like sauerkraut and maraschino cherries, and I’ve recently noticed that sourdough bread just tastes weird to me–though I don’t eat enough at once to have RWH symptoms–so I’m guessing it’s the amines that are getting me. Thank you for proving that I’m not crazy!!

  35. White wine actually contains more sulfites than red wine. Both, however, contain much, much less than dried fruit.

  36. Jo! I love the idea of more cocktail and wine posts. Yay. Over christmas I got really into this youtuber Sommerlier Whitney Adams- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIpgsv2RndM

    Have you seen her? Feel like you guys would enjoy! Feels like talking to your super smart tasteful bff about wine. Get her to do a a few specials for Cup of Jo!

  37. I love red wine, but do sometimes get headaches–not always. I completely appreciate (and really enjoy) the suggestion from the New York Times article of trying wines from many regions and of many varieties until you figure out what works. Sounds like the best sort of research!

  38. i love red wine. i don’t get headaches from drinking it, but it does make me sleepy. on a related note, Skinnygirl Margarita makes me mean. my boyfriend calls it “Insta-fight”!

  39. I love red wine, but do sometimes get headaches–not always. I really enjoy the suggestion from the New York Times article of trying many different wines until you see what works! It’s like a science experiment, but far more fun.

  40. Yes, so irritated with red wine headaches. I usually just get a glass and have a few sips now and end up leaving the rest. I can tell from the first few sips if it is going to be a headache wine or not.

  41. What about white wine headaches? I’m fine with red. I always assumed that it’s something about the white wine being chilled, and that’s what affected my head?

  42. Lol, I love how you describe the 6 hour later hangover. I think the rule of thumb is to always eat something before you drink, especially something carby. As I am getting myself ready for Game of Thrones this Sunday, I wonder how I will hold up to the red wine at the party premier. Your post is making me rethink my eating strategy =)

  43. I have the opposite problem: I’d be mean if I didn’t have red wine…

  44. I do have allergy symptoms with red wine, but the thing that makes me mean is chocolate! Any kind, of chocolate will make me mean and feel like I have a hatred gremlin inside of me. I’ve even felt a bit psycho at times. Awful. I used to love chocolate and now I just have to stay away. It hasn’t always like this, I think this began during my first pregnancy.

  45. I totally get red wine headaches! I knew it was common, but didn’t realize how much so. Sometimes I’m fine though, and sometimes I’ll have one glass and wake up feeling awful.

  46. I am the same way! I get really bad headaches after some but not all red wines, so I just avoid them all together.

    I’d love to see a post or two about women working in the alcohol industry – particularly women owned breweries and wineries.

    I love beer so anything beer related would be awesome! Beer cocktails, breweries, learning about beer, types of beer, etc would be awesome.

  47. YES! Absolutely. I get moody and irritable, like I’m having a really particularly bad day of PMS. Everything makes me feel touchy and over-sensitive. I stopped drinking red wine over ten years ago for this reason, and only have a tiny bit occasionally. I’ve found that now that I’m older, I don’t get as mean but I do get pretty exhausted very quickly if I have it!

  48. So interesting! While I don’t have specific experience with this (I always get headaches, called hangovers, because I just drink more than I mean to every goddamn time), I have a similar “turns out” medical diagnosis to share.

    My husband has sneezing fits. For the longest time, we couldn’t figure out what it was that triggered them—sunlight/dark? Nope. Specific foods? Nope. Allergies? Nope.

    Then one day, we got it! It happens when he’s full. There’s even a term for it… wait for it… SNATIATION! Ugh, right? :) But, mystery solved!

  49. Me too, not mean but sick. I just gave up on red wine, but white or bubbly is fine. I’m just a medical freak generally, but none of the typically diagnoses fit me. My mother also gets migraines from red wine, so I figure it’s genetic.

  50. Wow. I had NO IDEA this was so common. I can also get queasy with red wine on an empty (but otherwise very strong) stomach. It broke my heart for years because I always wanted to be a woman that loved red wine (whatever that means) and I do love the flavor of zins and cabs but I can only have a glass with dinner. For the most part I drink sauvignon blanc, sancerre, champagne if I’m feeling festive, and I’m particularly fond of the emergence of rosé as an everyday wine of choice. Thank you for this!

  51. Fortunately, I do not suffer from RWH, but I do tend to feel yucky when I drink white wine (is WWH a thing?)

    I would appreciate a post featuring summer cocktail recipes that also make for delicious mocktails, as I have several pregnant friends so like to offer something more fun than water when hosting.

  52. M says...

    I looove red wine but i get a headache with the first sip of white wine! Its like a drinkable hangover! I try to avoid it but its not easy with friends who only take white wine… :(

  53. One topic idea would be cocktail and menu pairings. You always see wine and food pairings but not cocktail ones. I love thinking of a new fun cocktail and a meal that goes with it but its hard to find inspiration. Something more inventive than the standard margarita with Mexican food.

  54. I do not get these terrible headaches (thank GOD) but I am very interested in more drink-related coverage! I love to read about it.

  55. in agreement with one of the comments above, would love a post about beer!

  56. Me says...

    It probably says a great deal about me that I like red wine so much that I’m very willing to take an antihistamine before drinking it to avoid the headache. I do it regularly. :)

  57. @CK, i love that loopy feeling lol. different alcohols definitely cause different feelings. beer makes me feel warm and chilled out. white wine makes me feel happy and giddy. red wine = cranky obviously. hard alcohol = completely out of it!

  58. I only got RWH when I was abroad in Italy. So it’s really interesting that they mention west coast wines would be better (they are) for the headaches. I’m ok with sticking to white :)

    allienotsally.blogspot.com

  59. @olivia, yes!! good q. i once heard early wakings were because of dehydration, so you should chug water before you go to sleep. but i should ask my sister who is a dr!

  60. As soon as I read your intro the first thought that came to mind was HOLY CRAP!! I love red wine, specifically Pinot Noir, but I have noticed that when I drink it, it makes me moody. It’s happens on several occasions that my buzz turns into a disagreement or crying session to my husband. I think I have that amino thing too :( sucks! Maybe if I mix it with fruit aka Sangria that will work or I may have to move on to only Rosé (I’m not big on whites). Hmmm maybe a Sangria testing post?! I had already imagined myself sitting in my backyard sipping sangria! (sometimes I share your posts with my husband but this one I may keep secret bcuz I am certain it is going to garnish an I told you so! LOL)

  61. I don’t drink much at all these days, but still enjoy going out to parties and pubs. Could you do a post on non-alcoholic drinks that you can order that aren’t sweet and/or childish? I often order lime and soda water, but it would be nice to expand my selection.

  62. As soon as I read the title I instantly recalled a time my new friend made me very strong red wine sangria and after feeling tipsy off a glass or two, stuck my foot in my mouth with something I said to her so bad that I am still apologizing for it! (something about my view on immunizations…I cringe just thinking about my big mouth!)

  63. I have TONS of questions regarding wine/cocktails. Most importantly, what are sulfites and why are they bad? I am always been told to look for sulfite-free wine (hard to find), but I really don’t know why!

    I always thought gin gave me the worst headaches/hangovers and I always assumed this was due to the overall “dryness.” Is this true? I would love to know.

  64. I’m with you. I get terrible headaches after drinking just a bit of wine. I’m now loyal to beer and liquor :)

  65. J says...

    I’d love to see you incorporate more stories on local distillers – there are so many out there right now. Breuckelen Distilling is a great one in Brooklyn with A-MAZING gin – and I don’t even like gin!

  66. Ah! This is so interesting! I get really bad migraines and have identified red wine as one of my “triggers.” Even one glass can lead to a migraine the next day, so I completely steer clear of it.

  67. I would love to talk about not sleeping after too much wine! It’s the worst :(

    Has anyone else had this problem? You drink some wine, go to bed because you are so sleepy and around 5 a.m. it’s like someone snuck you a shot of espresso!

  68. I second Kim’s “go-to drinks to order at your average bar that don’t sound like you’re in college (read: rum and coke)”. I always struggle with what to order, and don’t want to bother a busy bartender with “what do you suggest if I like x, y, and z”.

  69. I get booze face (bright red nose, cheeks and chin) when I drink red wine and some white wines which I always attributed to a histamine intolerance. I also talk WAY too much….

  70. I’m the total opposite! White wine affects me soooo badly – not only do I get awful headache’s but I am so so ill to the stomach the next day, even if I’ve only had a couple of glasses. I don’t drink it at all now – even the thought of it makes me feel a bit sick so I don’t miss it at all.
    But I love red wine!

  71. FP says...

    I LOVE wine…strangely enough I can get really bad headaches (or tipsy super fast) drinking a glass of white or rosé. I would love to read a post about people drinking wine during the work week. I used to have a glass (or two) after work, but for some reason feel guilty about it…Now I try to avoid drinking from Mon-Thurs, mostly for weight watching reasons.
    I would be curious to see what people’s wine drinking habits are!

  72. Red wine makes me really tired!! Like, 1 glass and ready to climb into PJs tired!

  73. CK says...

    So funny the differences in all of us.

    Beer makes me sleepy and full. I conk out feeling completely like a beached whale after one and a half beers.

    White wine makes me completely loopy after a glass and a half. I get goofy, goofy, goofy.

    Red wine seems to have virtually no effect on me. I don’t get headaches, and I would have to drink an entire bottle myself (never!) to get even a buzz.

    Tequila is evil. One margarita sans food is the end of me.

  74. Yes, I get a slight headache and don’t enjoy the taste so I don’t bother with it unless I add a bit to 7UP for a cooler. That satisfies my friends who feel non drinkers are stuffy.

  75. I get exactly these same feelings, but with white wine. Although not every time… I wonder what THAT is! Problem though: I totally heart white wine and couldn’t ever give it up!

  76. When I became older 40+, red wine headaches, but no grouchiness.
    Bad moods when I drink alcohol are from sugar based liquour like rum. Sugar interact with something in the brain to make some people angry, beligerent.

  77. This may sound so weird, but I’d love a piece on grown-up go-to bar orders. I’m officially past my vodka soda days, but am having a hard time replacing it with a more sophisticated, yet still simple option for an average night out at a bar….

    Love this idea and look forward to reading more!!

  78. Wine, champagne, and raisins. What do they have in common? Grapes. Yep, grapes (and associated foods/drinks result in a huge headache). I like beer.

  79. I am the same. And my face gets flushed. And my mouth gets stained. Luckily I can’t stand the taste of red wine haha. I stick to prosecco.

  80. I love red wine, but don’t forget the beers! =) Now that I’m older (ie not in my 20s) I don’t like “drinking” anymore and prefer only a couple drinks of something that tastes amazing and lately that’s been beer, it’s not as heavy, or strong with alcohol and the Belgians are THE best types of beer hands down; they are sweet and can be light or heavy (depending if you go double or triple, that means heavier).

    My fiance and I have brewed a few beers in the last couple of years and it’s so much fun to share them with friends when they are ready =)

    Anyways, I think it’d be fun to share some home brewing stuff with the ladies!

  81. Oo love red wine, it makes me amorous ;-) but also love beer, and too much of that makes me angsty. Tears, tantrums, general not nice behaviour. Real ales are the worst. My husband always says I get, ‘two pints euphoria, followed by three pints despair’. I’m British, so I’d be really interested in ‘drinking cultures’ around the world? My impression is that we drink more here in UK than you guys in the states? Or at least it’s more scoailly acceptable/ conventional to drink? Am I right though? We also think here in the north of the UK (Manchester) that we drink more than those in the south of the country? Regional variations stateside? Also laughed at ‘college drink’ from another commenter – maybe ‘drink you actually love but are too embarassed to order’ would be a good post??!

  82. Headaches and, since my 2nd child was born it burns going down. I have tried organic wines and different varietal, regions, but no luck. Interestingly, I can drink rose and sangria–just not straight red.

  83. Ha. I love red wine. But champagne makes me sad. It doesn’t have that bubbly effect on me like it does on most people. It usually ends in tears.

  84. What about beer stomachaches and anxiety?! It might just be me, but any time I drink high gravity craft beers I get a terrible stomachache and bad anxiety (or worse than usual…).

    I wonder if taking an antihistimine before wine would help?!

  85. would be so fun to do a post about TK easy, delicious cocktails to whip up for friends that don’t require involved measuring/shaking. (think negroni, moscow mule, etc). xox

  86. I just love red wine. What I’ve noticed is that I can’t have more than a glass of it or else I’ll be very dizzy!

  87. My mom used to get terrible chronic migraines, and was basically guaranteed one if she drank red wine.

    But after menopause (induced early by surgery for another health issue), the migraines totally stopped and she is now a pinot noir fiend!

    So at least maybe there is that to look forward to?!

  88. Yep, I’ve also cut back on red wine (which I love) because of headaches. I like the idea of drinking half a glass and keeping a journal – gives me an excuse to try some new reds in the name of health research!

  89. I don’t, but my husband and neighbor do. The neighbor will drink California red wines without a problem though. Great post on a poorly understood phenomenon. I think you covered everything that is known on the topic!

  90. Would love to hear from women wine makers and craft brewers!

    The “ends in tears” is something my fiance says to me when I drink red wine too! I don’t get headaches, just emotional.

  91. Me too! I get headaches from red wine and some cheeses–especially if I’m already on the verge of a headache, cheese will certainly send me in to migraine territory! I’ve also had several odd reactions to various alcohols–flushed, hot face and hives–but it doesn’t happen all of the time or with the same alcohols each time. Must be a histamine reaction–I’ll try the Benadryl trick :)

  92. these are such great questions! thanks so much, keep them coming xoxo

  93. Vodka makes my sister-in-law mean

  94. A topic I would love to hear more
    about is the best way to ‘save’ a bottle of red wine. I am the only wine drinker in my house and don’t drink more than 2 glasses at a time ( or I try not to). But usually if you just put the cork back on the bottle it is no good in 1 or 2 days. Any ideas about saving or even types of red wine that save better would be great!

  95. My husband gets headaches when he drinks red wine, he has migraine too..

  96. Yes! I get immediate headaches from red wine. Like one of your sources said, within 15 minutes I get one. I’ve had better luck drinking Pinot Noir than other reds, but mostly I just stick to whites and roses.

  97. So interesting, I love red wine but white wine makes me weepy. I hardly drink it anymore because I’ll be in hysterics by the end of the night. I’ve never had that problem with red.

  98. LOL…this is why I love you and your blog. My husband used to call it RED WINE RAGE. When I would drink too much red wine and get all emotional and irritable. I stick to white now.

  99. Joanna that is terrible! I don’t know what I would do. I have a glass every day, you know, because it’s um… good for you & stuff. ;)

  100. An idea for future posts: could you talk about some special drinks that *don’t* have alcohol in them? Like drinks that would be fun for a daytime celebration, or for kids? I remember trying elderflower soda a while back in England and loving it – it was almost their equivalent to our Martinelli’s apple cider. :) Just an idea for non-drinkers like me!

  101. Jo, I’d love to see a future post on learning to make a signature cocktail. It would be great to have one in the back pocket for this summer!

  102. how interesting! I only drink red and LOVE red wine!!

  103. I have always felt like such a lame-o, but I all but gave up wine because it gives me headaches so often. It’s sad because I love it and I love the idea of it, but I don’t love the headaches. I’m pregnant now, but when I’m back in the game again, I’ll have to try some different varieties and countries.

  104. I love (love, love…one love was not enough!) red wine…and am very thankful that I do not get RWHs!

    I agree and think some cocktail idea posts would be great. A suggestion for one recipe to include is the French 75…I am obsessed with this drink – it is so delicious and not too difficult to make, especially for those who like champagne.

  105. Red wine doesn’t give me a headache but if I have more than 2 glasses or I mix it with any other alcohol I WILL throw up the next day and have the worssstttt hangover. I don’t know what it is, but I stay away from it unless it’s a glass at dinner.

  106. Bring on more red wine and cocktail posts! I’d love to hear about some Napa vineyards that are worth a visit because they offer delicious wines, reasonable prices and a unique experience. There are so many that it’s hard to know where to go, and you don’t want to pick the wrong one and end up with a lackluster experience. At the same time, I want to avoid overly crowded and excessively expensive spots.

  107. I don’t drink red wines (they don’t taste right), but the amines in there reminded me of why I don’t take Benadryl. I lived in New Hampshire for eight years, and for about three of them, I was a mosquito target. Naturally I took antihistamines to help with my allergic reactions (nothing serious, but I puff up at the bite spot). Of all the ones I took, Benadryl made me a complete jerk.

  108. i used to get headaches from red wine and now i just realize it’s cus i drank cheap red wine or the heavy red ones like chianti. i love malbec and pretty much drink that exclusively, unless i’m with my wine expert friends who know how to order.

  109. It’s true Joanna.. Red wine does give a lot of ppl a head ache. N not to be confused that it’s the appetizers that cause any kind of allergy cuz we rarely have any of that here in India on a general social evening. But ohh yes the head ache is very apparent. For which o find a nice strong evening sangria to be a lovely substitute. I think that the fresh juice and fruits that are in that glass are very hydrating and cause much less of a head ache.

  110. Okay, I thought I was just getting old and getting hungover after a half-glass, but I must have this same problem! I know exactly the headache/irritability you are talking about. That, plus red teeth… I’ll stick to beer. ;)

  111. this is really interest. i had a bad reaction to gin both times i drank it. my mouth became hot and itchy, and i felt disengaged from my body and surroundings. i’ve never really understood why this happened, and i’m kind of bummed because everyone else seems to think gin is the greatest.

  112. Curious…I never ever used to get ‘red wine headaches’ until I hit about 37 and then, boom, no more ‘relaxing glass of red wine in the evenings’ for me….I now get awful, awful headaches when I drink red wine….I don’t touch alcohol now….

  113. How about a post on women who love beer? It’s often overlooked on blogs for women as the focus is usually on wine/cocktails.

  114. I’ll be opening my own winery in the next few months and freelance write for our local magazine. I’d be happy to help with any pieces you’d like published for your blog! Check it our winery and vineyard coming soon!
    http://www.FolinoEstate.com

  115. I have this with some red wines, but not with others. I’ve never noticed it with any other foods, EXCEPT– I once made my own kombucha, and it gave me that telltale instant buzzing headache. Since then, I don’t drink kombucha!

  116. I don’t mean to be flip, but what about a post about not drinking? Reasons people don’t, how to navigate it in social situations, what do drink instead, etc. I read the book Drink by Ann Dowsett Johnston and found it eye-opening. It made me think very hard about my drinking (which has never been excessive or problematic), and the culture of alcohol in the U.S.

  117. I love this post! I don’t get headaches, but I do get a little surly. I need to stick to 2 glasses, otherwise I get a little TOO talkative…

  118. @kim, that’s an awesome idea!! love it.

  119. LC says...

    The worst migraine I ever had was after red wine. I’m too scared to go near it after that experience. My dad says that you can take an anti-histamine before drinking it to help ward off the headaches, but I haven’t been brave enough to test it.

  120. i wish i could drink red wine! a sip is so delicious but….not to be ;)

  121. I turn into a monster if I drink whiskey… Mean and crazy. It’s like an out of body experience. Luckily, it’s only happened once and my (then) boyfriend (now husband) didn’t break up with me. But he calls it “rye rage” and I’m forbidden from drinking it. I’ve always wondered why that happens… Or why my girlfriend gets sad and weepy drinking vodka (we call it the “vodka leaks”)… Thankfully, I can drink all the wine: red, white, rose, bubbles. Too early for a glass now?;)

  122. Red wine doesn’t give me headaches, it makes me randy. We joke that our daughter was conceived after a good French wine night.

  123. I love red wine! Luckily I don’t get headaches, just dizzy… :)

    I’d love to know how to find out which cocktails I like without getting super drunk and spending a fortune….

  124. This is so funny. My boyfriend and I have recently put a ban on red wine after we discovered that the one thing all our fights had in common was that we had been drinking red wine before/during. So now we stay far away from it.
    Beer doesn’t make me feel very good either, so if there is only a choice of beer or wine, I go for the white wine.

  125. I wonder if it would help to decant the wine?

  126. My husband gets a serious jaw ache from most red wines. His doctor attributes it to sulphites. Organic reds seem to work much better. Also, regional wines, such as from Oregon and Washington haven’t bugged him too much. As for future posts, it would be awesome to learn some cool, classic (vintage?) cocktail recipes and what a home bar should have on hand to make them.

  127. It’s funny – the only red wine that doesn’t give me a headache is cheap 2 buck chuck from TJ’s :)

  128. Aside from the VERY occasional cocktail, wine is the only alcohol I drink. Red wine just makes me sort of mellow/sleepy, so I only drink it at home or at the end of the day (when I’m about to be headed home).

    The rest of the time, I’ll opt for white or champagne. Why wait for a “special occasion” when you can have the delicious bubbles on a Tuesday?

  129. Yup, I’ve heard of this before and I even know people who take a Benadryl before drinking if they just want to enjoy a few glasses of wine.

  130. Nope. I only drink red wine- white gives me headaches. And I looove spicy mustard.

  131. I don’t get them, but my parents do! I tend to get headaches after eating certain things, so maybe I am sensitive to something else.

    Love the idea of more cocktail/wine coverage! I don’t like liquor so would love to see some mixed wine drinks (sangria, for example).

  132. Yes! I get awful headaches with red wine. Typically, if it’s just one glass I’ll be okay, but if I have more than one it’s KILLER. I suffer from migraines, and the worst headache I ever had came after three glasses of red wine. Oh, it was painful. I do love red wine, though, so it’s sad that I can’t indulge as often as I’d like.

  133. I’m all about the red wine. I love it. With the exception of merlot. There is something in merlot that I just find absolutely repellent.

  134. The histamines in red wine give me (almost immediately) a hot and flushed face and hives if I keep drinking. I found this out about a week before my senior recital at music school, I still had a rough and splotchy face by the time I performed.

    I didn’t know about the headache phenomenon!

  135. YES! I’m totally fine with white wine, but for whatever reason with red wine I’m way more likely to get headaches and just overall turn into a grump. Glad I’m not alone!

  136. I can sympathize with the RWH, and how awful that must be! I looooove red wine and am glad I don’t have that reaction. I wonder – can it develop over time, like a food sensitivity?

  137. I always get RWH! It also puts me straight to sleep! I prefer champagne or rosé!

  138. I do! And it makes me even madder because I absolutely love red wine and I live in Europe. I allow myself a couple sips at wine tastings, but I’ve completely ruled out red wine otherwise. It simply isn’t worth the pain. Thank you for the info!!

  139. I would LOVE a couple posts that work to recreate famous cocktail recipes from renown restaurants. I’m always on the hunt for new & creative ways to make our home-happy hour a little more interesting.

  140. I’d love a list of go-to drinks to order at your average bar that don’t sound like you’re in college (read: rum and coke), a model on a diet (read: vodka soda), or really uninspired (read: gin and tonic). Also, some 3 or 4 simple ingredient cocktails to make at home would be great. Thanks!

  141. That list for sulphites is pretty inaccurate. Crackers often have the preservative meta-bisulphite but they don’t inherently contain sulphites. Same goes for pizza crust and dried fruits. A better test is mustard, which is spicy because of the natural sulphites (same for garlic, leeks, other allium family plants, wasabi or horseradish. Grapes actually contain sulphites naturally so no wine is really good if you have a strong sensitivity.

  142. I’ve been curious about this for so long! I get them, but not in a consistent way. I can tolerate some reds and not others. When I lived in France, I could drink tons of wine (both white and red) and never get hungover (or even that drunk). As soon as I moved back to the U.S., my hangovers were insane. I always assumed it had something to do with preservatives in the wines here, but I still haven’t figured it out.

  143. Red wine doesn’t affect me like that, but I get SUPER irritable/emotional when I drink tequila. My friends don’t even offer me it anymore! It’s funny now to look back actually, but I avoid it at all costs.

  144. I’m so glad that I’m not the only one! I actually adore red wine and I’m OK if I have a single glass but let me repeat: I adore red wine (so a single glass always turns into two). After that first glass, I start to going wonky: overly talkative, goofy, super-teary, crazy sensitive, etc. Red wine is now only for nights in with my husband (who thinks my red wine antics are sweet)…

  145. I get wicked headaches from red wine! I now never drink it. Thanks for posting the science behind it!