Wine Headaches

Friday, April 6th, 2018
heart of the desert wine

You love wine, but it doesn’t always love you. Why do you sometimes get a headache from drinking wine, especially red? Here is the lowdown.


The number one reason people get headaches from wine is because they overindulged and didn’t drink enough water, causing dehydration.


If dehydration or overindulging isn’t your problem and you can end up with a wine headache from just one glass of red wine, it’s probably a reaction to the tannins. Tannins are naturally occurring compounds that exist inside grape skins, seeds and stems. You experience the effect of tannins any time you drink a wine that creates a drying sensation in your mouth. If you seem to get headaches from wine more often when you drink red wine, such as a cabernet sauvignon or merlot, then tannins are likely the culprit. You can run a test by brewing up some black tea and letting it steep 5 – 10 minutes longer than necessary. Black tea also contains tannins, so letting it steep for a longer period of time ensures that all of the tannins are released. Drink the tea…if it gives you a headache, tannins are your challenge. Avoid red wine and your headache issue will be solved. Stick to dryer white wines like Chardonnays, Pinot Grigios or Sauvignon Blancs.


If you seem to have challenges with white wine, it’s probably sugar combined with alcohol and not enough water. When you consume alcohol or sugar, you need lots of water to help process it. If you aren’t hydrated enough, your body will pull water from other body parts including your head. This causes a headache. If this could be your problem, avoid sweet wines, including dessert wines. Moscatos and Rieslings probably shouldn’t be your wines of choice. Steer yourself toward Chardonnays or Red wines.


The last option could be histamines. This is another potential red wine issue. Foods and red wines that have been aged can cause our bodies to release histamines that create allergy-type symptoms like runny nose, dry eyes or a headache. Try taking a histamine blocker such as Claritin or Zyrtec before drinking red wine to see if it helps.

Headaches are no reason to give up wine all together. You just need to figure out what is causing them for yourself and make the necessary adjustments to keep enjoying it. Generally speaking, dry white wines work best for everyone.


Heart of the Desert is a working pistachio ranch and vineyard with four retail establishments in New Mexico. They are best known for their farm fresh pistachios and Award-Winning New Mexico wines. Each store offers wine and pistachio tastings. They offer worldwide shipping and produce attractive gourmet baskets that make great corporate and family gifts. The main store, on the ranch in Alamogordo, offers farm tours that showcases how pistachios are grown and processed as well as a stunning Tuscany themed patio that overlooks the groves and is available for weddings, private parties or enjoying a relaxing glass of wine.