Hangover from Wine? Why It Happens and How to Handle It

Prevent wine hangovers like a pro! Discover tips to raise your glass without the morning-after regrets.

Published On

January 3, 2024

Understanding Wine Hangovers

When indulging in a glass or two of wine, it's important to be aware of the potential for a wine hangover. Understanding what causes wine hangovers and recognizing the common symptoms can help you take steps to prevent and manage them effectively.

What Causes Wine Hangovers

Wine hangovers are primarily caused by the consumption of alcohol. When you drink wine, the alcohol enters your bloodstream and affects various systems in your body. The alcohol content in wine can lead to dehydration, disrupt your sleep patterns, and cause inflammation, which can contribute to the unpleasant symptoms associated with hangovers.

In addition to alcohol, various compounds found in wine can contribute to hangovers. Sulfites and other additives, such as preservatives and flavor enhancers, are sometimes added to wines and can trigger adverse reactions in some individuals. Although sulfites are naturally present in wine, they are also added as a preservative to prevent spoilage. Some people may be more sensitive to sulfites, which can exacerbate hangover symptoms. It is worth noting that sulfite sensitivity is relatively rare, and most people can tolerate sulfites without adverse effects.

Another class of compounds that can contribute to wine hangovers are tannins and histamines. Tannins are naturally occurring compounds found in the skins and seeds of grapes used in winemaking. They can contribute to the astringent and bitter taste of wine. Histamines, on the other hand, are produced during the fermentation process and can trigger allergy-like symptoms in some individuals. These compounds may increase the severity of hangover symptoms, particularly in those who are more sensitive to them.

Common Symptoms of Wine Hangovers

Wine hangovers can manifest through a range of symptoms, which can vary from person to person. Some common symptoms of wine hangovers include:

  • Headache: One of the most prevalent symptoms associated with wine hangovers is a pounding headache. The exact cause of wine-induced headaches is not fully understood, but it is believed to be a result of alcohol's impact on blood vessels and its dehydrating effects.
  • Nausea: Wine hangovers can often bring about feelings of queasiness and an unsettled stomach. This can be attributed to the impact of alcohol on the digestive system and the body's struggle to process the toxins produced during alcohol metabolism.
  • Fatigue: Wine hangovers can leave you feeling exhausted and fatigued. Alcohol disrupts your sleep patterns, preventing you from getting restorative sleep, leading to feelings of tiredness the next day.
  • Dehydration: Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it increases urine production and can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can intensify the severity of hangover symptoms, such as headaches and fatigue.
  • Sensitivity to Light and Sound: Wine hangovers can make you more sensitive to light and sound, causing discomfort and exacerbating other symptoms.

By understanding the causes and symptoms of wine hangovers, you can take proactive measures to prevent them or minimize their effects. In the following sections, we will explore tips and strategies to help you prevent wine hangovers and handle them if they do occur.

Factors That Influence Wine Hangovers

Various factors contribute to the occurrence of wine hangovers. Understanding these factors can help you make informed choices and potentially prevent or minimize the intensity of hangovers. Here are three key factors that influence wine hangovers: alcohol content of wine, sulfites and other additives, and tannins and histamines.

Alcohol Content of Wine

The alcohol content of wine plays a significant role in the likelihood and severity of a hangover. Wines with higher alcohol content can increase the risk of experiencing a hangover. This is because alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it promotes fluid loss and can lead to dehydration. As a result, higher alcohol content wines can cause more pronounced dehydration, contributing to the intensity of hangover symptoms.

To minimize the risk of a wine hangover, it is advisable to choose wines with lower alcohol content. This information is typically listed on the bottle and expressed as a percentage of alcohol by volume (ABV). Opting for wines with ABV on the lower end of the scale can help reduce the likelihood and severity of hangovers.

Sulfites and Other Additives

Sulfites are naturally occurring compounds in wine that act as preservatives. However, some individuals may experience adverse reactions to sulfites, such as headaches or allergic responses. While sulfites are not the primary cause of hangovers, they can contribute to the overall discomfort experienced after drinking wine.

In addition to sulfites, other additives, such as colorings and flavorings, can also influence the likelihood of experiencing a hangover. These additives may vary depending on the specific wine and winemaking process. Choosing wines with minimal additives or those labeled as "organic" or "natural" may help reduce the risk of experiencing hangover symptoms.

Tannins and Histamines

Tannins are natural compounds found in grape skins, seeds, and stems, and they contribute to the taste and texture of wine. Some individuals may be more sensitive to tannins, and consuming wines high in tannins can potentially lead to hangover-like symptoms. These symptoms may include headaches, nausea, or a general feeling of discomfort.

Histamines are also present in wine and can contribute to allergic-like reactions. Some individuals may experience wine intolerance or allergic reactions due to histamines. These reactions can manifest as headaches, congestion, or skin flushing.

To minimize the impact of tannins and histamines, consider opting for wines with lower tannin levels, such as white wines or lighter reds. Additionally, taking antihistamines before consuming wine may help alleviate potential allergic reactions for those sensitive to histamines.

Understanding these factors that influence wine hangovers can help you make informed decisions when selecting and consuming wine. Remember to drink in moderation, stay hydrated, and be aware of your own tolerance and sensitivities. By employing these strategies, you can raise your glass without raising the risk of a wine hangover.

Tips to Prevent Wine Hangovers

When it comes to enjoying wine without the unpleasant aftermath of a hangover, prevention is key. By following these tips, you can minimize the chances of experiencing a wine hangover and enjoy your glass of wine responsibly.

Drink in Moderation

Moderation is crucial when it comes to preventing wine hangovers. Pace yourself and be mindful of your alcohol consumption. Sip your wine slowly and give your body time to process the alcohol. Avoid excessive drinking and know your limits. Remember, the more you drink, the higher the chance of experiencing a hangover.

To help you keep track of your alcohol intake, it can be helpful to set a limit for yourself before you start drinking. Stick to a predetermined number of glasses or ounces and be mindful of the alcohol content in each glass.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is essential to prevent wine hangovers. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it increases urine production and can lead to dehydration. Drink water alongside your wine to maintain hydration levels. Alternating between sips of water and wine can help keep you hydrated and decrease the likelihood of a hangover.

Additionally, make sure to drink plenty of water before going to bed after a night of drinking. This will help replenish the fluids lost and reduce the severity of any potential hangover symptoms.

Choose Wines with Lower Alcohol Content

Alcohol content plays a significant role in the intensity of a wine hangover. Opt for wines with lower alcohol content to reduce the likelihood of experiencing severe hangover symptoms. Wines with higher alcohol content can lead to dehydration and increased intoxication.

When selecting a wine, pay attention to the alcohol by volume (ABV) percentage. Generally, wines with an ABV below 13% are considered lower in alcohol content. Choosing these wines can help you enjoy your glass without the risk of a debilitating hangover.

By following these tips, you can enjoy your favorite wine while minimizing the chances of waking up with a wine hangover. Remember to drink in moderation, stay hydrated, and opt for wines with lower alcohol content. Cheers to raising your glass without raising your hangover!

Strategies to Minimize Wine Hangovers

While completely avoiding hangovers may not always be possible, there are several strategies you can employ to minimize the likelihood and severity of wine hangovers. By making conscious choices about the types of wines you consume and how you pace yourself, you can enjoy your glass of wine without suffering the next day. Here are some effective strategies to consider:

Opt for Red Wines

When it comes to preventing wine hangovers, opting for red wines can be a smart choice. Red wines generally have lower levels of congeners, which are substances produced during the fermentation process that contribute to hangover symptoms. By choosing red wines over white or sparkling wines, you may reduce the severity of your hangover symptoms. However, it's important to remember that individual experiences may vary, and moderation is still key.

Avoid Sweet Wines

Sweet wines, such as dessert wines or those with higher residual sugar content, tend to have higher levels of alcohol and sugar. These factors can contribute to more intense hangovers. By avoiding sweet wines and opting for drier varieties, you can potentially reduce the risk of experiencing a severe hangover. Remember to check the label for information on residual sugar levels or seek assistance from knowledgeable staff when selecting your wine.

Take Breaks Between Glasses

Another effective strategy to minimize wine hangovers is to pace yourself and take breaks between glasses. Giving your body time to metabolize the alcohol can help prevent excessive alcohol consumption and its associated effects. Consider savoring your wine slowly and interspersing it with non-alcoholic beverages, such as water or sparkling water. This not only helps in moderating your alcohol intake but also keeps you hydrated, which can further aid in reducing the intensity of hangovers.

By implementing these strategies, you can enjoy your wine with greater peace of mind, knowing that you're taking steps to minimize the potential impact of a hangover. Remember, everyone's tolerance and sensitivity to alcohol can vary, so it's important to understand your own limits and drink responsibly.

Handling Wine Hangovers

Even with the best intentions, wine hangovers can still occur. When you find yourself dealing with the aftermath of a night of indulgence, it's helpful to know how to handle wine hangovers. Here are some remedies, self-care tips for recovery, and guidelines on when to seek medical help.

Remedies for Wine Hangovers

When it comes to relieving the discomfort of a wine hangover, there are several remedies that may provide relief:

  • Hydration: Drinking plenty of water can help alleviate dehydration, a common symptom of hangovers. It's important to replenish the fluids lost due to alcohol's diuretic effects.
  • Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may help alleviate headaches or body aches associated with wine hangovers. However, it's essential to follow the recommended dosage and consult a healthcare professional if you have any health conditions or concerns.
  • Electrolyte drinks: Consuming electrolyte-rich beverages or sports drinks can help restore essential minerals and electrolytes lost during alcohol consumption. These drinks can aid in rehydration and alleviate some hangover symptoms.
  • Ginger: Ginger has been used for centuries to relieve nausea and aid digestion. Sipping ginger tea or taking ginger supplements may help reduce feelings of queasiness.

Remember, these remedies may provide temporary relief, but the best way to prevent wine hangovers is by practicing moderation and making conscious choices while drinking.

Self-Care Tips for Recovery

In addition to remedies, self-care plays a vital role in recovering from a wine hangover. Here are some self-care tips to help you bounce back:

  • Rest: Give your body the rest it needs. Allow yourself to sleep in or take a nap to aid in recovery.
  • Healthy meals: Focus on nourishing your body with nutritious foods to help replenish essential nutrients. Opt for balanced meals that include fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
  • Light exercise: Engaging in light exercise, such as taking a walk or doing gentle stretches, can help boost circulation and release endorphins, which may help improve your mood.
  • Avoid alcohol: It's essential to give your body time to recover fully. Avoid consuming more alcohol until you feel back to normal to prevent exacerbating hangover symptoms.

When to Seek Medical Help

In most cases, wine hangovers are self-limiting and improve with time and self-care. However, there may be situations where seeking medical help is necessary. Consult a healthcare professional if:

  • Hangover symptoms persist or worsen over an extended period.
  • You experience severe symptoms such as persistent vomiting, severe headaches, or chest pain.
  • You have underlying health conditions or concerns that may be exacerbated by alcohol consumption.

Remember, prevention is always the best approach.

By following these remedies, self-care tips, and knowing when to seek medical help, you can handle wine hangovers with greater ease. However, it's important to note that the best way to prevent wine hangovers is to consume alcohol responsibly and in moderation.


Wine is a popular alcoholic beverage that is enjoyed by many. However, excessive consumption of wine can lead to unpleasant symptoms commonly referred to as wine hangovers. Understanding the causes and symptoms of wine hangovers and taking proactive measures to prevent and manage them can help you enjoy your glass of wine without suffering the next day.

By following the advice and strategies outlined in this article, you can enjoy your favorite wine without the risk of a debilitating hangover. Cheers to raising your glass without raising your hangover!


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