Uncorking the Mystery of Wine Allergies

Do you ever enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, only to be marred by a headache, sneezing, rash, and other allergy symptoms? If so, you may be one of the millions of people coping with the effects of a wine allergy.

Wine Allergy Findings

Wine allergies affect about eight percent of wine drinkers today, but the good news is that scientists may have uncorked some new findings that could make it possible for you to drink red or white wine in the future without ill effects.

Until recently, the medical community believed that people who experienced a wine allergy were reacting to the sulfites used to preserve the beverage. However, they now know that sulfite allergies accounts for only about one percent of the cases of wine allergy symptoms. The other seven percent of people with a wine allergy may be suffering from an allergy to some other type of substance instead.

The Causes

Researchers believe that the problem could be related to a special type of protein called glycoprotein which is produced when grapes ferment. These proteins seem to be similar in structure to other allergy triggers including ragweed and latex, which can certainly cause similar reactions to people who have a glass of wine.

This information may be beneficial to help winemakers create new wines that are "low allergy" so that wine enthusiasts with this allergy can still enjoy their favorite beverage.

What this Means for You

If you suspect you could be suffering from a wine allergy, it may be helpful to pay attention to how you feel after having a drink. If you experience signs such as rash, hives, itching, runny nose, sneezing, or even difficulty breathing, these can be indicative of a wine allergy. An allergist can do some testing to confirm this diagnosis. It's important to note that some people do experience reddening of their skin when they drink, and this is usually caused by their blood vessels dilating, rather than an allergic reaction.

Hope for New, Low-Allergy Wines

If you do suffer from a wine allergy that's triggered by glycoproteins, you'll be glad to know that in the future, winemakers may be able to provide you with a safer, "low allergy" wine drink. You'll probably be able to enjoy a glass of this without fear of it making you sick. However, keep in mind that if you are one of the few whose reaction is triggered by sulfites, you may still have to worry about experiencing the symptoms. In any case, it's also important to remember that moderation is key to safely enjoying any alcoholic drink.


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