8 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Horrible Wine Hangovers

Marissa A. Ross

I used to believe you could never get drunk on wine.

As someone with an absurdly high alcohol tolerance (did I mention I'm Russian?), I felt I could drink bottles of the good stuff before I were anywhere near the floor. To be fair, I still can. But wine is a peculiar clusterf*ck if you’re not careful.

My friends and coworkers describe it the same way I would describe the Black Plague: You become puffy, sticky, dizzy and feverish. It’s all concentrated in your head, and it makes you look and feel purple. Someone even pointed out that it "ages you."

Okay, so if I have mysterious superpowers that help me avoid hangovers from other forms of alcohol, I can also avoid the ones caused by wine, right?

Not exactly.

1. Your immune system plays a part.

EBV, if you haven’t Googled it yet, is mono. Chances are, you probably had it at some point in middle or high school and it may come back to haunt you after one too many glasses of pinot.

“I find that my patients with wine sensitivities tend to have a history of EBV and a weak immune system,” explained Alyssa Cellini, nutritionist and creator of MYCUSTOMCLEANSE. “This causes the virus to flare more often, especially when met with a yeast-boosting drink which tilts the immune system to a more virus vulnerable position."

2. Your sweet tooth is keeping you from monitoring yourself.

The sh*tty thing about sugar? It keeps you from having a straight mind.

“Sugar keeps you from knowing how much you’re drinking,” Will Schragis, brand development manager at Rhum Clément USA, said.

The sweeter the wine, the higher the levels of sugar. All that sugar can make you forget you’ve actually gulped down an entire bottle or two of merlot.

3. It might not seem it, but wine still has a high alcohol content.

Schragis put it best,

Two bottles of wine is like 10 or 11 shots. You don’t notice you’re drinking that much if you’re talking to your friends for hours.

Think about the last time you split a couple of bottles between a friend or two. All that alcohol adds up, even if it doesn’t seem like it. We all know what happens when you drink too many cosmos, so why should that differ with wine?

4. It depends on where your wine came from.

Wine from hotter parts of the world tends to have a higher alcohol content. Hey, that can be fun fact for your next drinking game!

For example, wines from California are typically higher in alcohol content than ones from France because the climate in Cali is warmer.

5. Fermentation makes wine hangovers different from others.

It’s all in the yeast.

Cellini explained,

The fermentation process is different. Wine’s yeast and sugar retention compared to hard liquor will create an acidic environment in the body, which will make you feel more tired, achy, affect your appetite. Dehydration only makes these symptoms worse.

6. Cheaper wine doesn’t mean a guaranteed hangover.

Focus on the kind of wine you’re having. Schragis stresses the importance of paying attention to what you’re drinking. Simpler products are generally safer. Same goes for wines that are reasonable quality and traditionally made.

This doesn’t mean you have to go for the most expensive rosé in your liquor store. Focus on the producer of the wine, not the region it is made in, and you will have a better shot at pinpointing what is causing your hangovers.

Additionally, the more industrial (as opposed to traditional) method the wine is made, the more chemicals there will be in it. Those chemicals may be what gives you that gross feeling after you down a few glasses.

7. No, it’s not the sulfur.

Ask anyone the main culprit of a wine hangover, and most will point his or her finger at the sulfur content. Those kinds of people are wrong and you should never drink with them again (unless they buy you bottles, and then go on right ahead).

“A lot of people believe the sulfur in wine is what’s giving them a hangover,” said Schragis, “That is almost never true. There is a very small percentage of people with actual sensitivity to sulfur."

Wine also contains less sulfur than a lot of the food we eat. Dried fruit, for example, contains far more sulfur than wine.

8. Take care of yourself at night so you don’t feel like sh*t in the morning.

As with all hangovers, your best bet for preventing one caused by wine is getting as much water as you can.

Wine is acidic and water can help alkalize the body. Cellini recommends warm lemon water both in the evening and in the morning to balance you out.