wine allergy

Red Wine Allergy, Symptoms, and How to Treat It?

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Red Wine Allergens: What You Need to Know

If consumed in moderation, wine is a popular alcoholic beverage that can be beneficial to health. Has drinking wine ever caused you to experience allergy-like symptoms? What are the chances of having a wine allergy?

If consumed in moderation, wine is a popular alcoholic beverage that can be beneficial to health. The possibility of having an allergic reaction to wine does exist, although it’s rare.

Read on for more information about wine allergies, potential allergens in wine, and signs of allergies.

Wine allergy symptoms and signs

In some cases, an allergy to wine or other alcohol can have similar symptoms to that to a food allergy. There have been several reports of symptoms, including:

  • An itching or burning sensation in the mouth, lips, or throat
  • Symptoms of digestive upset, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Rashes or hives, which may be itchy
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Throat, lip, or mouth swelling


There is no cure for anaphylaxis, but it can result in a life-threatening condition. The condition can be triggered by consumption of grape products such as wine, raisins, and fresh grapes.

The allergen was identified by a 2005 study conducted by Trusted Source as a grape protein.

Consult a doctor immediately

Seek medical attention if you are experiencing anaphylaxis or suspect someone in your family is. There are a number of symptoms to look out for, including:

  • Hives or a rash that may be itchy
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea are symptoms of digestive upset
  • Heartbeats that are quick
  • Throat swelling
  • Wheezing and coughing can be signs of difficulty breathing
  • Doomsday feeling
  • Passing out or feeling lightheaded
  • Hypertension (low blood pressure)

Food allergies and intolerances: What’s the difference?

In order to treat an alcohol intolerance or allergy, it is important to differentiate between the two.

The immune system reacts abnormally to an ingredient in wine when it develops a wine allergy. The immune system may react to sulfite and cause a sensitivity in some people, especially those with asthma. In most cases, sulfite sensitivity can be classified as an allergy with mild to severe symptoms.

A person with alcohol intolerance has an inability to digest alcohol effectively, which can be inherited or developed over time.

Intolerance can cause symptoms that closely resemble allergies, so the two are often mistaken for one another. There are several symptoms of intolerance, including:

  • Hypertension (low blood pressure)
  • Asthma worsens
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Congestion or a runny nose
  • Migraine or headache
  • Skin flushed
  • Heartbeats that are quick

Wine allergens: what are they?

The wine industry contains a variety of potential allergens. These include:

There are specific proteins found in grapes, including

  • A wine’s specific alcohol is ethanol
  • Ethanol is produced by yeast fermentation of grape sugars
  • Sulfites are naturally occurring in wine or can be added by the winemaker

Proteins derived from milk, eggs, and fish can be used as fining agents during production

How important is it to choose the right wine?

The potential allergens discussed above are generally present in most wines. There is, however, a strong correlation between red wine and the symptoms.

According to a 2005 study by True Source, alcohol use can cause upper airway symptoms in people. In addition to nasal congestion, sneezing was reported as a symptom.

According to the study, 83 percent of respondents reported experiencing symptoms after drinking red wine. Third most commonly reported symptom trigger was white wine, with 31 percent reporting it.

In a more recent study, Trusted Sources assessed allergy symptoms in conjunction with wine consumption. When people drink red wine, they report more symptoms than when they drink white wine.

Do you know why there is a bias towards red wine? White wine is fermented without the grape skin on, while red wine contains more sulfites and contains more acids. While the reason for this is unclear, it might have something to do with the fact that red wine contains more sulfites.

It has been confirmed that one of the grape allergens is found in the grape skin. Trusted Source

A red wine is fermented with the grape skin still attached, whereas a white wine is fermented without the skin.

There could also be differences in reactions to wine based on the grape variety used. One publication reports that consumption of Merlot grape-based wine can result in negative reactions among those with hypertension.

Is it possible to be allergic to other things if you are allergic to wine?

Can you also have reactions to other things if you’ve had reactions to wine? Are there any allergens that are shared between wine and other products or foods? Here’s more detail on this.


Some potentially allergenic ingredients in beer are similar to those in wine, including ethanol, sulfites, and yeast. Beer and wine are both possible allergens, so both can cause allergic reactions.

As an example, a 2017 case study conducted by Trusted Source described a person who experienced an allergic reaction after consuming products such as beer, wine, cider, and champagne. It was confirmed that the patient was allergic to yeast following allergy testing.

Fining agents

There are proteins in eggs, milk, and fish that are used as fining agents in wine. Do these allergens pose a threat to you if you have allergies to them?

As part of the winemaking process, fining agents are supposed to be removed from the wine. Filtration is one method of accomplishing this.

A study conducted by Trusted Source in 2014 examined whether these procedures could remove fining agents from red and white wines. There was no evidence of fining agents in the wines tested using the assays used. According to a second study done in 2014 by Trusted Source, the results were similar.

According to a study conducted by Trusted Source in 2011, people are reactive to certain chemicals. Wines did not contain fining agents, but people who had milk, egg, or fish allergies experienced very small skin reactions. According to the researchers, fining agents pose a low risk as a result of the limited scale of the response.

Other foods

There is a possibility that allergic individuals may also react to other foods if they are allergic to grapes or grape products.

Based on a study by Trusted Source published in 2006, grape allergies were also associated with the following food allergies:

  • Peaches
  • almonds
  • pistachios
  • Insect venom

A variety of insects can fall into wine and be crushed along with the grapes, including bees and wasps. After drinking newly processed wine or grape juice, a reaction was observed in one study of five people.

The reaction was caused by insect venom allergens present in the wine, according to further study. However, aged wine did not show any reaction.

Wine allergy diagnosis

When you experience an allergic reaction after drinking wine, how can you tell which allergen caused it? You can find out if you are allergic by taking an allergy test.

Skin tests

In a skin test, a small amount of allergen is injected under your skin or pricked under it. Usually, if you’re allergic to an allergen, you’ll experience redness or swelling shortly after exposure.

Blood tests

Taking blood samples is the first step in blood testing. In a laboratory, IgE antibodies will be tested for to determine whether the blood contains allergy-related antibodies. The IgE level can be determined by blood tests or by testing IgE against a specific allergen.

A specific allergen, such as each grape protein, may not be available as a reagent for allergy tests. In lieu of testing for sulfite or yeast allergies, your doctor may instead test for more general allergy triggers, such as red wine and white wine.

Wine allergy treatment

The antihistamine

It may be necessary to take oral antihistamines in order to treat a mild reaction to wine. Depending on your medical condition, you may be able to obtain either of these over-the-counter or with a prescription.

Epinephrine autoinjector (EpiPen)

You may want to consider carrying an EpiPen (epinephrine autoinjector) if you have wine allergies or a sulfite sensitivity. If you have a severe allergic reaction and are waiting for help, this emergency medication can help treat it.

Oral immunotherapy

There are some people who are gradually given increasing amounts of allergen orally in order to promote tolerance in order to treat food allergies. Oral immunotherapy is the term used here.

This method has not been studied extensively for treating wine allergies, but it was tested in a person with a severe grape and wine allergy. As grapes doses were increased, oral tolerance was achieved.

What to do if you are allergic to wine

Getting an allergic reaction to wine can be prevented by avoiding wine if you are allergic to it.

In order to avoid an allergic reaction to wine, it is important to know what part of the wine you are allergic to. There is a possibility that you may have a reaction to a specific kind of wine or grape.

A careful reading of the label can also provide you with useful information. You must be informed if a wine contains sulfites, for example, on the label.

Although adverse reactions to wine can be severe, caution is advised when drinking it. If you have an allergy to wine or any other alcoholic beverage, you may want to avoid it completely.

Consultation with a doctor on right time

When experiencing allergy symptoms shortly after drinking wine, you should consult your doctor. Some of these include:

  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Throat, lips, and mouth itching or burning
  • Hives or a rash
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea are symptoms of digestive upset
  • An increase in asthma symptoms or wheezing

Depending on your symptoms, your doctor can help determine if you are allergic or intolerant to wine. You may also be referred to an allergist by them.

Whenever you experience anaphylaxis, you should seek medical attention immediately. The symptoms of anaphylaxis should be treated immediately if you experience them or someone else does.

The takeaway

It is possible to develop an allergy to wine or other types of alcohol despite the fact that these allergies are rare. Several allergens are present in wine, including grapes, yeast, and ethanol.

There are several symptoms that you might experience if you have a wine allergy, such as rashes, nasal congestion, wheezing, or tingling in your mouth and throat. It is possible for reactions to be very severe, leading to anaphylaxis in some cases.

In the case of allergy-like symptoms caused by drinking wine, you should seek medical attention. If you are experiencing a reaction, they can help you figure out what may be causing it.

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