Go Organic for Wine Allergies

Many people enjoy a good glass of wine with dinner.

Research has shown that along with a healthy diet, drinking wine in moderation promotes heart heath and can prevent certain diseases and cancers. But if you're allergic to wine, this may not be an option, until recently. You may be able to enjoy the health benefits with these alternative wine options.

Wine Allergy Symptoms

But first, here are the symptoms of a wine allergy. Signs of a wine allergy can vary greatly, depending on what's triggering the reaction. The types of discomforts people have reported after drinking wine include headache, upset stomach, shortness of breath, sneezing, and flushing of the skin. In some cases, the problem can be caused by the histamine or sulfites contained in the wine. In many instances, though, the discomfort is really intolerance to one of the ingredients but doesn't involve a true immune system reaction. Only your doctor can tell the difference.

If you suspect you've had an allergic reaction to wine, you'll need to undergo allergy testing to determine what's causing your symptoms. Once you've identified the problem, there are alternative wine options that may be worth exploring.

Organic Wine Options

There are organic wine alternatives without allergy-causing ingredients. Keep in mind, however, that exactly what constitutes as an organic wine varies a great deal. Different countries and certification agencies have a wide range of standards including the levels of preservatives and pesticides they allow.

If your wine allergy is triggered by sulfites—a compound that helps maintain freshness—look for low-sulfite organic wines. On the other hand, if your wine allergy stems from a reaction to histamines (formed during the fermentation process), organic wine might not help.

New Research on Wine Allergies

While your options may be somewhat limited right now, there's hope. Thanks to research conducted by Danish scientists.

These researchers discovered that some wine allergies could be caused by glycoproteins, which occur naturally in the grapes that are used to make wines. Glycoproteins have a similar structure to other types of common allergens. These findings were included in The Journal of Proteome Research in 2010. This may help lead to the development of safer, "hypoallergenic," or "low-allergy" wines. To achieve this goal, the researchers hope to invent a tool that will make it easy to remove allergens.

What This Means for You

Some studies have found that people with hay fever and asthma can be at higher risk for wine allergies. So if you have either, or both, of these diagnoses, proceed with caution.




Greiff Nighlen et al. "Alcohol-induced upper airway symptoms: prevalence and co-morbidity." Respiratory Medicine 6 (June 2005): 762-9. Web. 17 April 2012.

Palmisano, Donato et al. "Glycoproteomic profile in wine: a 'sweet' molecular renaissance."Journal of Proteome Research, 2010. Web. 17 April 2012.

Science Daily. "Low-Allergenic Wines Could Stifle Sniffles and Sneezes in Millions of Wine Drinkers." 17 Nov. 2010. Web. 17 April 2012.