True wine allergies are rare in occurrence, it is more common to have an intolerance to wine. Just as with any other food, medication, or environmental allergy a wine allergy involves an immune response. An immune response occurs when the body defends itself against substances it sees as harmful or foreign. It is unknown as to why the body creates an immune response in some people and not others.
What are the symptoms if I have an allergy to wine?
Allergies to wine can cause hives, difficulty breathing, and in extreme cases, shock, usually between 15 and 30 minutes after consuming wine. It is sometimes difficult to determine which allergen is responsible for allergic reaction because many different ingredients are found in wine.
Allergy to red, rosé, or white wine: are there any differences?
All wines can give reactions; however, most people express symptoms after drinking white wine or rosé.
A wine allergy can be caused by any ingredient found in the wine. The majority of people have a reaction to the grapes or sulfites in the wine but this can also be attributed to any other additive found in the wine. Intolerances depend, for their part, on the dose of wine consumed and are generally due to sulfites. Many people have a deficiency in the enzyme responsible for breaking down alcohol, acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, this allows for high levels of histamine in the body after consuming wine leading to a reaction.
A grape allergy is rare. It can concern the pulp, the flesh, or the seeds. This type of allergy can be experienced with other fruits such as apples or peaches. It can also be associated with respiratory allergies to pollen.
Sulfites are chemical compounds used as preservatives in the majority of wines, and more particularly in white wines and champagnes. The presence of sulfite is mandatory on the labels. Many organic wines contain fewer sulfites. If you find that you have a reaction to wine, it is a good idea to read the label to identify the amount of sulfites found in the wine.
Glycoproteins and other possible causes
Many glycoproteins are often present in wine. A Danish study published in 2010 in the Journal of Proteome Research revealed 28 in glycoproteins, of which 13 come from wine and 15 from yeast in white wine. Some of come from plants such as peaches or cherries. Others include, ethanol or alcohol, which is found in other alcohols and vinegar, molds, or yeasts. Casein from milk, egg whites, or gelatin from fish are typically used to clarify wine. Hymenoptera allergens (wasps and bees), captured during the harvest, can also be found in wine. A sensitivity or allergy to any of these can cause a reaction to wine.
Allergy or Intolerance?
A wine allergy is due to the introduction of allergens into the body. Symptoms usually occur between 15 and 30 minutes after drinking wine. Intolerances on the other hand do not active an immune response but by a disturbance of the metabolism. An intolerance will typically be abdominal pain, a feeling of discomfort, malaise, or even difficulty breathing for some.
How do I know if I have a wine allergy?
If you suspect that you have a wine allergy the only person who can confirm this is an allergist. You will have small doses of allergens introduced to your body through skin tests conducted by the allergist. The results are based on how your body reacts to each allergen.
What treatments are available?
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for allergies. The only way to avoid a reaction is to avoid the allergen. There are treatments for individuals who are sensitive to wine and experience: rhinitis, urticaria, or shortness of breath. We would recommend you speak to your treating physician about the best options for you.
Should we stop drinking wine?
If you have a true allergy to wine, you should not consume wine. If you have an intolerance speak to your physician about treatment options for your reactions.
During our recent visit to Israel, we really struggled to find food for our son who has anaphylactic level allergies to egg and sesame. We approached both restaurants and hotels and were told they were unable or unwilling to take responsibility for preparing his food.
After learning about Dr. Eliana on-line, we contacted her in the hopes that she could provide a ‘normal’ restaurant experience for our family.
Both she and Shani were meticulous in their preparations with the restaurants to ensure that our son had a wonderful and safe experience.
We truly appreciate their efforts to take care of our son, and to provide us with a lovely vacation experience.
T.M., Chicago, USA
We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing gift you have given us over this Pesach- the gift of having you with us!!!!
We have NEVER felt more comfortable, calm, and at ease than we did these past 10 days. Your warmth, professionalism, kindness, and care shown through in all that you did.
My children are so grateful that they were able to be with you this Pesach. You made sure that they were so well looked after and they felt so at ease and comfortable with you! You were so amazing and approachable to them! And they LOVED all the food you so amazingly prepared (supervised allergy-free food preparation, managed menus) for them!
It’s very difficult for us to trust people when it comes to our kids and allergies. You magically were able to take away ALL of our anxieties, and nervousness (and we don’t give that away so easily!!)
We can never fully thank you enough. We truly feel that you instantly became part of our family and we look forward to G-d willing being able to be with you and plan amazing trips with you many many many more times!!!!
Thank you and may Hashem bless you for the work you do. My son Jacob said your allergy card has been very helpful. I am so grateful- beyond words.
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All the best,
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"Food Allergy Concierge assisted us with a very helpful, detailed customized allergy card in Hebrew. The Allergy card was extremely helpful for multiple allergies and allowed us to eat safely in several eateries and hotels. Highly recommended.”
G.A. Illinois USA
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We are so lucky we found this company to help us while our son was traveling. They provided allergy-safe baked goods and delivered them to his hotel so he could have bread and pastries on his month-long Israel trip. It was very easy ordering and communicating his needs. I would definitely use the food allergy concierge again the next time he travels to Israel.