Last week I presented a winetasting at a client’s house. And I got the same question I always get (without fail!): Why do I get a headache when I drink cheap white wine? Although the headache part stays the same, there are a million variations to the end of the question : “Why do I get a headache when I drink dry white wines?” or “….sweet white wines?”, …”cheap reds?” or,(my personal favourite posed by a good friend who has my sincere sympathies)…”if I have more than one bottle?”.
My father-in-law on the other hand, can only drink whites and reds older than 5 years (or that’s what he tells his winemaker son-in-law in any case). Interestingly enough, I’ve particularly noticed that my clients don’t get headaches from more expensive wines…might the answer lie with the fact that not many of us open more than one bottle of wine at R495 a pop?!
Experts reckon the RWH (Read Wine Headache as it’s commonly referred to) probably has more than one cause. Probably the most blamed culprits are tannins. Tannins are the flavonoids in wine that give it its degree of mouth-drying bitterness one tastes. But then, Dr. Marion Nestle, chairwoman of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University, duly notes that no one complains about tea, soy, or chocolate headaches though all contain tannins. In no way do I see myself as an expert on the subject but if it interests you, you’re welcome to read more about it here.
In my (humble and very un-objective) opinion, the problem lies with the individual body and its sensitivities rather than with the wine. My recommendation: find the ones that work for you and consume one glass of water for every glass of wine…
PS: NEW WINE FILM WITH THE PARLOTONES: Go and have a look at the new wine film we made with the Parlotones for their white wine: “Push me to the floor”. Another mafia theme… It’s on my website here

Telephone: +27 (0)82 872 8658

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