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Allergic reactions to wine?


Yes, its a genuine ‘thing’. I have an allergic reaction to some white wines and most bottle conditioned beers - sadly Champagne especially. I think it’s down to sulphites or something like that. Sensitivity does vary and there are possibly other factors in play. Not really a problem, just something to be aware of.

Anti-histamine is the remedy .


If it is sulphites you are reacting to, you’ll presumably have the same reaction on eating dried fruits, which have very high levels by comparison. If not, it will likely be something else - an easy test.

(edited to add - there are champagnes with lower levels of SO2 - Roederer and Drappier are bottled at around the 40mg/l mark if I recall correctly. I don’t know what Bollinger are doing these days but they used to be lower level too. If that’s still too much, Drappier make a zero-added sulphur champagne, but you need to keep it cool and drink it within 12 months of disgorgement max.)


Yes, a pack of dried mangoes will set your sulfur intake through the roof. Unless you want to eat brown-coloured dried mangoes, but that’s not what typical consumers are interested on.


I believe some white wines are cleared with chitosan (derived from shellfish) so people could have an allergy to this.


Not sure if it qualifies as an allergy, exactly, but I have a reaction to Ripasso wines…
Nightmares… Not just bad dreams, but full colour, UHD, Oscar winning, nightmares.
Initiated a few years ago by a bottle of Allegrini`s Palazzo de la Torre, consumed by my wife and I (over two nights…!!) on holiday in Sirmione . I was scared to go back to sleep…! Happened a couple of times since then, so now avoid.
Straight Valpolicella and Amarone are, strangely, not guilty…!

Encountered a few patients in my professional career who had similar effects from their eye drops for glaucoma.
So don`t get Ripasso in your eyes…!


I have a reaction to Primitivo, Zinfandel (both genetically the same) and Pinotage. This manifests itself in a massive migraine. I read in “Decanter” many years ago that there was a known biochemical reaction triggered by these varieties and that a small percentage of wine drinkers will have a reaction. I have avoided them for many years and not suffered a migraine since.