Few things come to mind that are more tortuous than a wicked wine hangover
Some people can seemingly drink loads of wine all night and wake up with little consequence, while many people suffer from a grueling hangover from consuming two glasses. So, what gives? How can you avoid the soul-sucking, debilitating pain of the wine-headache that can ensue from just having a couple of glasses of wine?
Hangovers from drinking wine are not just imagined to be worse than your typical run-of-the-mill hangover; they actually are worse
Here is why:
Ever hear some people say they don’t like white wine, or white wine gives them a headache? This is not imagined. There is actually a chemical compound that is produced when partial oxidation of ethanol (drinking-alcohol) by the liver enzyme dehydrogenases. This chemical compound is called acetaldehyde. When Acetaldehyde builds up in your system, it causes headaches, nausea and vomiting. Some wines already have this hangover-causing compound in them, as it occurs naturally in ripened fruits and in the fermentation process. Your sense of smell can detect high levels of this, as acetaldehyde has a fruity aroma which tends to be identified as a sour apple scent. Sweeter white wines tend to have this compound in higher levels, which is why some people state that they can not drink white wine.
The major cause for all hangovers, you have probably heard, is dehydration. Red wine tends to be higher in alcohol, and tannins, which are “dehydrators”. The best way to combat a wine hangover, is to slow the absorption of alcohol into your system by consuming it with a meal, in addition to drinking lots of water. Also, wine is typically higher in alcohol than what is stated on the bottle because laws allow a certain margin of error, as wine is a fermented and aged product, and the alcohol levels can be tricky to precisely detect.
Red wine grapes, by majority, grow in hotter climates, which means higher sugar levels – yielding to higher alcohol levels. If you have two glasses of cabernet sauvignon, you may think your are only consuming 15% alcohol, but it could be as high as 18% alcohol in your glass. Higher alcohol drinks not consumed with food or water are a recipe for your body to get intoxicated very quickly and dehydrate rapidly.
Everyone reacts differently to alcohol based on several factors. Wine is no different. The best thing you can do to avoid the dreaded wine hangover is drink more slowly, eat something substantial with higher fat (like cheese and crackers, as the fat in the cheese will slow down the absorption of alcohol to a rate slower than if you just had crackers alone) and aim to drink a quart of water throughout the evening (32 oz, or if you are at a bar, 2 large pint glasses full). If you notice you get more headaches from drinking white wine, just have one glass and then switch to red, but sip it slowly and enjoy it! Worse case scenario, take two tylenol and guzzle as much water as you can before you crash, it helps!