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Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Glass Of Headache



I just learned about something called Red Wine Headache. It even has its own acronym, RWH.

Of course, I knew that it's possible to get a headache after drinking red wine. But I figured that that was also called a hangover. Maybe I'm the last wine drinker in the world to learn that you can get a RWH without really drinking all that much.

One of my favorite wines is Tarapaca Cabernet Sauvignon. It's a $15 bottle of wine that is often on sale in Prague for $5, so I buy -- and drink -- quite a bit of it. I have a friend who drinks a lot of wine but who says he can't drink Tarapaca without getting a headache.

I guess I kinda discounted his headaches as being, well, all in his head (at least as far as being caused by the Tarapaca, that is).

Until today.

I woke up with a smashing headache, a real stomach turner. I felt nauseous. I took a handful of pain killers, but it's still never quite gone away, nine hours later.

Last night, I drank a bottle of Aromo Private Reserve Carmenere 2007. I really nice bottle of wine from Chile. What I woke up with was not a hangover, however. It was a RWH. I'm sure of it now.

Turns out RWH even has its own Wikipedia page.

They're not sure what causes it (sulfites, histamines, tannins), only that it is a legitimate phenomenon. And each person is affected differently by different wines. A wine that I love gives my friend a headache, for example.

There's no cure, other than staying away from red wines that give you a heachache.

It was delicious, but I guess I won't be having a glass of Aroma Private Reserve Carmenere 2007 anytime soon. Thankfully, I only bought one bottle.

5 comments:

  1. Ohhh!!! been there! I feel your pain.
    Hope it is only the one kind that will do that to you.
    It is all trial and error ;)
    Enjoy your blog!

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  2. My extensive research has shown that wearing a bike helmet (or not biking home from a party where red wine is served) reduces red wine headaches by approximately 87.243 percent. I should note, however, that my extensive research may not apply in all cases. It's mostly centered around me.

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  3. Weezi, thanks for the kind words. And Mark, I promise to now wear my helmet when opening and drinking a bottle of my favorite red. You can't be too careful...

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  4. Seems posting some gusto has replaced cycling, at least for the time being... Hope you can get back on the saddle soon..

    Anyway, to the headache thing. I don't remember ever having something like that, at least not without getting drunk on red wine (a bad idea).

    I have heard of people suffering the same with white wine. I think my dad used to suffer from it, but it was only with cheaper wines, I think.

    There is something similar with Budvar. Some can get skull cracking headaches after drinking only a couple of pints. Again, never happened to me (not even after getting drunk on the stuff this time), but I've heard about a doctor that said that if you have that problem you should have one or two pints a day for a couple of days and problem solved. Wonder if that works with these wines.

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  5. Never heard of that Budvar phenomenon but it sounds eerily familiar. Glad I don't suffer from that! I hope to be back in the saddle in early July sometime. Have to go through some physical therapy first. Ugh. But right now I can't lift my left arm very far.

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