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What could cause me to be allergic to only certain wines?

The issue of "allergy" to wine is a common one. There is generally no simple answer. A commonly held belief is that people react to the sulfites that are added to wine to prevent spoilage. The level of these can vary from wine to wine.

There is a small subset of people that are sensitive to sulfites, and they tend to have asthma. However, in a study comparing high and low sulfite containing wine, people who stated wine made their asthma flare showed no change after drinking it. A similar study showed only 2 of 10 people with this problem reacted to a high sulfite wine. 

There are numerous compounds in wine: biogenic amines, sulfites, and histamine to name a few. Numerous studies have shown that the histamine content of wine does not correlate to symptoms. Sometimes even trace amounts of insects such as bees have been shown to exist in wine, and one study reported sensitivity to bee venom in people with wine senstivity who had never been stung. The complex nature of wine makes it enjoyable, but may also make it difficult to pin down why it causes people problems, or why some wines are tolerated when others are not.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.