I am freaking out right about now and frankly in disbelief. It all started last Summer when after a birthday celebration I woke the next morning feeling as if I had a severe case of the flu coming on. Major sinus infection, chills, the works! I never in a million years thought it was due to the Chardonnay I so wonderfully enjoyed. It wasn’t until another episode occurred that I shook my head and said “NO way!” I ran to my handy helper and “Googled” away! Sure enough I found much information on the many allergic reactions to sulfates, a preservative commonly used in wine. Since I am a seasonal Chardonnay connoisseur I brushed it off, NEVER thinking it would happen with my Merlot. After all, the reports stated that white wines have a higher content of sulfates, and I can probably live without sulfates thanks to the many organic options out there.
Well, not so fast... it may not even be sulfate related either. This fall I’ve suffered from allergies more than I normally do. Blamed it on ragweed and pet dander. NEVER thought it had anything to do with the glass of Merlot I so look forward to after a long day’s work. As many know I am one who listens to their body and truly analyzes all the effects different foods give me. I went back to reading & research. Luckily I came across an article on RWH (Red Wine Headache), not to be confused with a hangover, just a severe, sudden headache resulting from even modest red wine consumption. Luckily I don’t suffer from the headache part, but since it is related I read on. Much of what was written made great sense, but since it didn’t exactly pertain to sinus/stuffy nose I decided to drop the authors a line explaining my dilemma. Below are a few of the suggestions I received.
1. See an allergist. They may be able to test you for various sensitivities common to wine.
2. Try taking an antihistamine before drinking. Even a VERY small dose (half or even 1/4 of a pill may alleviate your symptoms with no alcohol/antihistamine danger.
3. In our experience, Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs cause fewer problems than other wines. Also French wines may be better for you than American.
4. You might also try some organic or biodynamic wines. More and more are available today. Many French (and other) wines are produced organically even if they make no claim on the label. You may have to do some research.
No joke, I was in bed all day Saturday after simply enjoying two glasses of Merlot! That was not good! Now its becoming a quality of life issue, and that I will not accept. I know I am not the only one out there, and I know that there is an answer besides ending my love affair with my Vino… So you have my word that I’m on the case and will share the answers with you as I find them.