Sneezing? Could be your wine

by Camille on April 26, 2010

Several of my health-forward friends have been telling me for years that alcohol made their allergies worse. I have hay fever and a smattering of animal allergies myself, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized that I, too, seemed to be a lot more likely to have a sneeze attack after having a glass of vino.

That’s because alcohol does indeed trigger allergies, according to a recent New York Times story. Among the evidence, a 2008 study from Danish researchers found that women in their 20s who had two glasses of wine a day were nearly twice as likely to have allergy symptoms as those who didn’t.

The issue isn’t the alcohol itself; it’s that wine, beer and liquor contain histamine, which causes the millions of people with histamine allergies to develop less-than-fun symptoms like itchy eyes, a runny nose, a scratchy or sore throat and, of course, sneezing. To add to the problem, beer and wine both naturally contain sulfites, which also contribute to allergies and asthma.

Personally, I’d rather stock up on Claritin than give up wine. But if you’ve got really bad allergies, it might be worth shelving your bottles during the sneezing season.

By the way, although there’s no such thing as sulfite free wine, you can get low sulfite wine; one of my new favorites is Frey Vineyards Syrah. And when in doubt, go with organic, because it tends to be lower in sulfites.


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Sarah Jio April 27, 2010 at 1:42 am

So surprising!! I’m going to have to check out that wine from Frey. Thanks for the tip! xo

Jennifer October 17, 2010 at 9:46 pm

To continue on the allergy/wine connection here, my best friend has a sulfite allergy that does not contribute to allergies or asthma, but rather gives her an incredibly “embarrassing” rash. The rash appears on her chest as blotchy and red (note: it is not an allergic reaction that one would assume to be inflamed or resemble poison ivy calling for an EpiPen…). To keep this to a minimal, when out in public, she has red wine instead of white, and clear liquor instead of dark.
I just wanted to comment because I know my friend did a lot of searching to figure out her issue so I figured I’d spread the word!
Happy Fall!

Mary Ann May 29, 2012 at 11:26 pm

So it’s true…it’s the wine causing my sneezing attacks! I’ve been trying to figure this out for a couple of years. One glass fine, second glass sneezing, runny nose, etc… all the allergy symptoms. An allergy pill at this point doesn’t seem to help much. When I tried organics and Frey, results were better, but I just thought it was coincidence.

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