What Causes Red Wine Headaches?

For some wine drinkers, red wine triggers mild to serious headaches, but the cause is not known. An internet search will provide a number of speculative ideas: sulfites, histamines, tannins, alcohol, sugar and other wild guesses. Most of these have been ruled out, but red wine contains much more tannin and related compounds, so these will be carefully scrutinized. In general, we will compare a list of wines that cause, and those that do not cause headaches, according to patients who suffer from this affliction, and chemically analyze those wines. We will then compare the inventory of substances in those that trigger headaches and those that do not. We hope that we will be able to identify the culprits from that comparison.

UC Davis Dream Team is Ready

To tackle this issue, we have combined forces from three leaders: wine chemistry, metabolome analysis and diagnosis of headaches. If anyone has a chance to sort this out, it is this team.

You might ask, why don’t we apply to NIH to study this issue? Good Question. The NIH has never been supportive of headache research, despite the huge amount of suffering migraine and related conditions cause. We think not only will this study help answer a centuries old riddle, but will also shed some much-needed light on the spectrum of headache conditions.

Follow this link to contribute to their crowdsourcing efforts to study why red wine causes headaches.

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