Why Does Red Wine Make Me Sick

Red wine has always held a top spot among my preferred alcoholic drinks. I admire its ability to elevate the taste of food and bring an air of elegance to any gathering. Yet, I have observed moments when red wine causes me to feel unwell. It is an unpleasant occurrence that has prompted me to question its cause.

After doing some research and consulting with wine experts, I have come to understand that there could be several reasons why red wine makes me feel sick.

Tannins and Histamines:

One possible culprit is the presence of tannins and histamines in red wine. Tannins are natural compounds found in grape skins, seeds, and stems, and they contribute to the wine’s structure and mouthfeel. However, some individuals may have a sensitivity to tannins, which can lead to symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, or even allergic reactions.

Histamines, on the other hand, are chemicals produced during the fermentation process. They are also found in certain foods and can cause allergic reactions in some people. If you have a sensitivity to histamines, consuming red wine could trigger symptoms like headaches, nasal congestion, or even skin rashes.


Sulfites are naturally occurring compounds that are also added to wine as a preservative. They help prevent spoilage and preserve the wine’s freshness. However, some individuals may be sensitive to sulfites and experience symptoms such as breathing difficulties, skin irritation, or gastrointestinal issues.

Alcohol Content:

Red wines generally have a higher alcohol content compared to other types of wines. This increased alcohol level can lead to symptoms like nausea, dizziness, or even a general feeling of sickness if consumed in excess or on an empty stomach. It’s important to drink red wine in moderation and be mindful of your alcohol tolerance.

Individual Sensitivities:

It’s important to remember that everyone’s body is unique, and what affects one person may not affect another in the same way. Some individuals may have specific sensitivities or allergies that make them more prone to feeling sick after consuming red wine. It could be a specific grape variety, a specific winemaking technique, or even an individual’s overall health and metabolism.

Although it can be disheartening to experience discomfort after enjoying a glass of red wine, it doesn’t mean that you have to give up on it completely. There are steps you can take to minimize the likelihood of feeling sick:

  • Choose wines with lower tannin levels, such as Pinot Noir or Beaujolais.
  • Look for wines labeled as “low sulfite” or “sulfite-free” if you suspect sulfites are the cause.
  • Drink red wine with food to help mitigate the effects of high alcohol content.
  • Stay hydrated and drink water alongside your wine to prevent dehydration.
  • Consider consulting with a healthcare professional or allergist to identify any specific sensitivities or allergies.

In conclusion, there can be multiple reasons why red wine may make you feel sick. Tannins, histamines, sulfites, alcohol content, and individual sensitivities can all play a role. It’s essential to listen to your body and make informed choices when it comes to consuming red wine. By understanding the potential causes and taking appropriate measures, you can continue to enjoy this beloved beverage without experiencing discomfort.