7 Signs That Your Body Doesn't Tolerate Wine Properly

While it might be surprising to hear, some people's bodies are unable to tolerate wine properly. A wine allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity — all of which, yes, are things — typically has less to do with the grapes themselves and more to do with other characteristics of the wine that you're drinking. If drinking wine makes you feel kind of ill, chances are you have some sort of intolerance, but there are other signs that your body doesn't tolerate wine properly, too, some of which might surprise you.

Even if you think your body handles wine just fine, it might not handle it as well as you think. According to the Mayo Clinic, you likely need to see a doctor about it if you have a more severe reaction or suspect that your negative reaction might be due to a full-blown allergy. Another clue that you should seek medical advice is if you're more likely to experience a negative reaction from red wines than you are from whites or rosés, according to Rodale Wellness. While it's relatively rare to have a full-blown wine allergy, a 2012 study conducted in Germany found that about 8.9 percent of women and 5.2 percent of men experience some sort of wine intolerance, though the study results were limited because not everyone completed the survey. If you think you fall within those percentages, you definitely need to know for which signs you should be looking. It doesn't necessarily mean that you have to stop drinking wine altogether, but still, if your body doesn't tolerate wine properly, you just might want to know.

1Your Face Gets Flushed

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Lots of people get a bit of a rosy glow when they drink alcohol, but, little did you know, this could actually be a sign that your body doesn't tolerate wine very well. According to Prevention, flushed skin is one of the most common signs that you might be allergic to wine, meaning you might need to abstain, switch to something else, or otherwise re-evaluate.

2Your Nose Gets Congested

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Nasal congestion after drinking a glass of wine is another sign that you and wine might not be on the best of terms. According to Vincarta, it could actually be that you're sulfite intolerant, meaning your body can't properly handle the sulfites in wines that preserve freshness and kill off any harmful bacteria. Wines from the European Union must, by law, say on their labels if there are sulfites in the wine, and there is a limit to the amount of sulfites that can be added by the winemakers. Do some additional trial and error to figure out if it really is an issue with sulfites or just opt to refrain from drinking wine altogether.

3You Get Hives

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Do you break out into itchy, blotchy, red hives after drinking wine? Given that this is a classic allergic response, it likely won't surprise you to hear that it might mean that your body doesn't handle wine very well. According to the aforementioned article from Mayo Clinic, hives are a symptom that you might have an alcohol intolerance or, at least, some sort of reaction to an ingredient or characteristic of the wine. If the hives are extreme — and from red wines — you might want to switch to white.

4You Sneeze, Cough, Or Wheeze

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Like with nasal congestion, sneezing, wheezing, or coughing as a reaction to drinking wine might signal that you have some sort of sensitivity or intolerance to that wine, according to the previously-mentioned article from Prevention. White wine or rosé might be a better choice for you if you experience these symptoms overwhelmingly after drinking a glass of your favorite red.

5Your Heart Rate Goes Up

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Have you ever noticed your heart start to pound a little bit after drinking most of a glass of wine? According to the aforementioned article from Vincarta, that could be a sign of a histamine intolerance. While most wines have low levels of histamines (not enough to cause a reaction on their own), if you also have lower levels of the enzyme that breaks down histamines in your small intestine, you might still end up experiencing a reaction.

6You Get Stomach Cramps, Vomiting, Or Diarrhea

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Nausea and vomiting are signs of alcohol intolerance, as noted by Mayo Clinic in the previously-mentioned article. Abdominal cramping and diarrhea, in addition to nausea and potential vomiting, can also, unsurprisingly, indicate that your body doesn't tolerate wine very well, as Rodale Wellness noted. If it's bad enough that you're experiencing these symptoms, you may need to make an appointment with your doctor or an allergist who can help you sort out what's really going on.

7You Get Headaches Or You Feel Dizzy

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According to the aforementioned article from Vincarta, if you get headaches or migraines, feel dizzy, or experience vertigo after drinking wine, it might be a histamine intolerance. While headaches can be caused by a plethora of sources, if you've ruled out some of the other causes or experience a number of the other symptoms in addition to getting a headache, it just might be that your body doesn't tolerate wine as well as you thought.

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