What in Grape Wine is Causing Migraines?

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RolandD

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My wife gets a migraine every, single time she drinks grape wine. I make ciders from store bought juice. She has no problems drinking my ciders, but the other day, the store didn't have enough cheap apple juice, so I got a couple of gallons of Concord grape juice just to try an apple/grape cider.

A few nights ago, it was finally kegged, carbed and cooled, so I pulled a glass to try it out. She took two drinks from my glass and had a migraine within 30 minutes. All ingredients, except the grape juice, are exactly the same as all my other ciders. She can drink any other fruit wine without issue.

Any ideas?
 

G259

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I'll second that. As I read the post, tannins popped into my head, even before I read cmason's post.
Perhaps a test with a commercial bottle of wine might be telling, maybe a Cab, or something.
 

RolandD

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I add tannins to my cider and it doesn't bother her. All grape wines will give her migraines, commercial wines, red, rose`, and white. I add sulphites to my cider, as well, so it's not that either.
 

Sailor323

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Red wines contain high levels of histamines. All wines contain some histamines, but reds contain a lot. Headache caused by drinking red wines is not unusual.
 

bstnh1

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From Harvard Health: "Tannins are plant chemicals that impart flavor to red wines and contain antioxidants. But they also spur the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which at high levels can cause headaches in some people."
 

Bkat

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Can she eat whole grapes without incident? It could be an allergy to the fruit itself. Any reactions to any other berries or berry juices? Apples and grapes are dissimilar enough that there wouldn't necessarily be a reaction to both. Otherwise, it could possibly be a reaction to residual pesticide/fungicide on the fruit itself.
 

RolandD

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Can she eat whole grapes without incident? It could be an allergy to the fruit itself. Any reactions to any other berries or berry juices? Apples and grapes are dissimilar enough that there wouldn't necessarily be a reaction to both. Otherwise, it could possibly be a reaction to residual pesticide/fungicide on the fruit itself.
She goes through a bag of grapes per week. No grape allergy, and it is all fermented grape products. She can drink grape juice just fine.

As for histamines, wouldn't the histamines be present in grape juice, as well?
 

Handy Andy

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I never get hangovers. I have noted my delicate missis gets hangovers SOMeTIMeS, after drinking red wines. I wonder if the chemicals used are still there on the skins. Whereas whites are not fermented on the skins with chemical residues
 

Bkat

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I never get hangovers. I have noted my delicate missis gets hangovers SOMeTIMeS, after drinking red wines. I wonder if the chemicals used are still there on the skins. Whereas whites are not fermented on the skins with chemical residues
OP said it's also white and rosé, not just red.

Yeast? Or at least specific strains?

This is a mystery in that OP's wife doesn't react to grapes or grape juice. Just wine. But doesn't react to other beverages that have gone through a fermentation process, like cider.

Gotta ask... any reaction to wine vinegar?

Just curious if she's tried any wines made with only native, and not introduced yeast?
 

G259

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Could it be the higher alcohol level in wine vs. cider? Give her a shot of Jack, and see if she falls over!
(Lol!) No, I'm kidding, that would be cruel! I still wonder if it may be the alcohol level though.
I also just wondered about sulphites and sorbate, are they used in cider?
It has to be something different from the two, obviously.

(edit) I don't know why I didn't think of sulfites sooner, but it's my next best guess.
(I'll bet there are a dozen people smacking their noggins, DOH!)
If sulfite is used in cider, I wonder if it is MORE in wine due to longer aging, thus more additions.
 
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Sailor323

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Can she eat whole grapes without incident? It could be an allergy to the fruit itself. Any reactions to any other berries or berry juices? Apples and grapes are dissimilar enough that there wouldn't necessarily be a reaction to both. Otherwise, it could possibly be a reaction to residual pesticide/fungicide on the fruit itself.
Actually grapes contain relatively low levels of histamines as do apples. The histamines are produced during fermentation by microbes that occur naturally on the skins of grapes and many other fruits and vegetables. People who suffer from histamine intolerance should avoid fermented foods.
 

Handy Andy

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I wonder if taking an anti histamine pill alleviates hangovers for those that get them?
 

franc1969

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I wonder if taking an anti histamine pill alleviates hangovers for those that get them?
Yes, it helps some. I get headaches from some commercial wines, some home winemaker wines. Others, they are fine. Too much barrel time is an issue, as is malolactic fermentation time. Added wood cubes or extractions, maybe. It all went even weirder when i realized i had antihistamine induced heat intolerance, made my menopausal hot flashes hell.
It is all personal, so your wife might try something and it works, others it won't be different, some wines it might... Maybe try those antihistamine wine stir sticks that are sold? I don't have a link, but they've been discussed on WMT before.
 

Snafflebit

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I have used strains of yeasts from European companies that claim the yeast does not produce biogenic amines. These are the source of some histamines in wine. That could be a starting point for your next batch of wine.
 
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