"Help! I think I'm allergic to sulfur!!" - Myths about wine allergies

"Help! I think I'm allergic to sulfur!!" - Myths about wine allergies

Angelica Nohra

Wine Importer | Wine List Consultant | Speaker


I'm sure you've heard it before; "I can't drink red wine because I'm allergic to sulfur".

"I can't drink white because it makes my head funny"

"Wine makes my nose itchy"..

I've been in this industry long enough to have heard ALL of the different excuses as to why people 'can't' drink wine. 

If you have met me in person, you'll know the sulfur issue or excuse is really one that drives me a little mental. "I'm allergic to sulfur so I only drink white wine"... "im allergic to sulfites" *while eating dried fruit*. "I can't drink sulfites because they give me a headache"...

Let me tell you something, there is more sulfur in the dried fruit then in the wine glass. 

Also, white wine has sulfur too... actually, white wines normally contain more sulfur... how about that for logic?

Sulfur is naturally occurring  in grapes as well. It's a natural gas that makes up a part of our bodies too. So, usually, you aren't allergic to sulfur.

The reason why you get a headache isn't from sulfur, it's from Alcohol. I've been in numerous scenarios where people have told me they are allergic to red wine but when I've asked them to give a bottle of Sensi Montepulciano d'Abruzzo or something else around the 12.5-13% alcohol a try, they miraculously don't get a headache. Check the back of the bottle folks, 14.5-15% alcohol vs 12.5-13.5% alcohol will make a big difference to the 'headache' tomorrow. 

The reason a lot of people are 'allergic' to red wine is a sensitivity to Oak Tannin. Tannins are the seeds and skins of a grape and it is actually psychoactive so enough of it can induce not only weird dreams, night sweats, lack of sleep but if you are sensitive to it, itchiness, red cheeks and more. However; oak tannin is the chemical that comes off the oak barrels wines are stored in. If you find red wines do this to you, try wines with less oak tannin and alcohol. Usually, anything fermented in a tank should be ok. This is why a lot of people have an easy time drinking the Italian wines we import. 

So, if you are a little sensitive to wine, my two tips are:

1) Watch your alcohol concentration. 

2) Ask about oak tannin before buying a wine. 

Sensi "Collezione" Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOC

The most popular of our vino!

It has an intense red colour, a fruity flavour with hints of red fruits, typical characteristic is the liquorice bouquet.

Enjoy this wine with roasts, meat and aged cheese.

Tastes similar to an Aussie Shiraz!

12.5-13% Alcohol 

RRP: $240.00   BBCS: $149.00

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