Thursday 30 March 2017

Katherine Donnelly: Wine without the headache

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Call me a martyr to the cause, but I am one of those people who, at times, suffers an allergic reaction to wine.

You know the feeling: headache, fuzziness, stuffed nose or sneezing, and I'm certain it has nothing to do with having that last glass.

The blame is usually directed at sulphur dioxide, or sulphites, an antioxidant used as a preservative in winemaking. It can occur naturally, or added to keep wine fresh.

About one in 12 wine drinkers suffers wine-related allergies, but it seems that sulphites account for only about one in eight such reactions.

A team at the University of Southern Denmark went to work on some Italian Chardonnay and found that compounds known as glycoproteins, formed during the fermentation process, are likely causes.

They hope their work will lead to a glycoprotein-free wine. Which is all very well, but will there be anything left on which I can blame a headache?

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