Are you one of the many people who enjoy drinking red wine but find that you get headaches after drinking it? You don’t get them after drinking white wine but those reds really seem to bring the ache on. Have you like others blamed it on sulfite? If you have, consider that the majority of wines, both red and white, contain sulfite. Sulfites (usually the potassium metabisulfite form) are found in many grocery foods as it is a common preservative that inhibits bacteria growth.
So, it’s probably not this common food preservative that is causing those headaches. What else could it be?
Many red wines are subject to a “malolactic fermentation” (MLF). Lactic acid bacteria are introduced either along side the first yeast fermentation or after the yeast have completed their job of turning the sugars into alcohol. These bacteria break down the harsher tasting malic acid that can be found in higher quantities in some wines and turn it into lactic acid. The process helps to soften the taste of those wines that have high levels of malic acid. Malolactic fermentation is generally not carried out with most white wines.
MLF introduces other chemicals into the wine as a side effect of this fermentation, including histamine. Histamine of course can have severe effects on those individuals who are susceptible and can cause mild to severe headaches and other unpleasant symptoms. So if you enjoy the flavors and aromas of red wine and it’s intoxicating effects, what can you do to avoid the unpleasant effects?
Why not make your own red wine? The easiest way to do this is to purchase one of the many kits that are available. These kits can result in superb wines that will rival many of the store bought bottles. Kit wines should never undergo a malolactic fermentation as the producers of those kits have already balanced the juices and juice concentrates that go into them. No malolactic fermentation means no chemical bi-products that include histamine.
Learning how to make wine is not that difficult, and the kits that are available make it very easy and simple to bottle wines you will be proud to serve your guests.