You crack open your eyes to start the day, and there it is: a dull throb that extends from temple to temple across your forehead. Too much weekend? Perhaps. Or maybe it’s something else that’s giving you that wine headache.
Let’s tackle the obvious first: did you overindulge? Maybe “one more couldn’t hurt” at night’s end? If you’re guilty as charged, then you know exactly why there’s a pounding in your noggin. But if that’s not the case, discover more about wine headaches—and how to enjoy so they’re not an unwelcome morning wake-up call—below:
Why Wine Headaches Happen, and What to Do
Contrary to popular belief, sulfites probably aren’t the root of the problem. Sulfites occur naturally in many foods, like grapes, oranges, eggs, kale and asparagus … but let’s get back to wine. Winemakers only add a small amount to preserve the wine and to get rid of pesky wild yeasts that can impact the final product. Warding off wayward yeasts and bacterias that come in from the field keeps the wine fresh and better for you to drink.
Consider … We’re not doctors, but we’re pretty sure sulfites didn’t give you that headache. We do have other food for thought, though. Read on!
Histamines could be the culprit, creating a mild allergic reaction. Red wines have the most, so consider what you’re drinking when you get headaches to see if there’s a pattern.
Consider … choosing whites over reds if you don't overindulge and still get headaches. If you suspect a histamine issue, ask your doctor, who may suggest antihistamines, vitamin B6 or an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen, naproxen and others). But don't self-diagnose: ask!
Tyramine could also be responsible. It causes a slight rise in blood pressure that could trigger a headache. How to tell? Those who are tyramine-sensitive also get a headache from aged cheeses, smoked or cured meats and citrus.
Consider … checking with your doctor. Already feel it coming on in the middle of a wine tasting sesh? Drinking one glass of water for every glass of wine to stay hydrated is a smart practice. Alternating wine and water for the best hydration won’t “cure” tyramine sensitivity, but staying hydrated is never a bad idea.
Sparkling that isn't made in the traditional méthode champenoise—a secondary fermentation in the bottle that creates bubbles—may be infused with carbon dioxide or simply produced in large, unforgiving tanks, which can cause big bubbles and big headaches. Carbon dioxide has been known to create faster alcohol absorption, too.
Consider … choosing a sparkling that’s made the old-fashioned way, where tiny bubbles are created as nature intended.
We have to circle back to this: the biggest offender is drinking too much plus the resulting deyhdration.
Consider … drinking responsibly and always having wine with food. If you’re out wine tasting, check in advance about on-site nibbles and pack your own if you must. If you do tip back a few too many, try some of these:
Penns Woods Winery is a family-run Pennsylvania winery. With more than 40 years of experience in the wine business, winemaker Gino Razzi and his daughter, Carley Mack, produce award-winning wines from Pennsylvania-grown grapes. Penns Woods wines can be found in restaurants throughout Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs. Stop in to your local state store and pick from a limited selection of wines, or visit our tasting room for the full offering. The tasting room in Chadds Ford provides an all-around vineyard experience and hosts live music, food and wine pairings and other exciting events each weekend. Score Penns Woods Winery news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter today!
Go behind the scenes with the Penns Woods Winery team in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.