Since no one enjoys a wine hangover, five tips on why they happen and how to avoid them. Most likely most of what you think about this subject is wrong.
Tip one: Don’t drink too much wine. Self-evident. But it is a great party with great friends and you want to keep the good times rolling. There is a price to pay when you tempt the wrath of grapes.
Tip two: Pair every glass of wine with a glass of water. Dehydration is a chief hangover villain. Drinking water addresses hydration, it also paces your wine sipping.
Tip three: Drink dry red wines. Whoa, many of you did not see that coming, but tannins in red wines do not cause hangovers, they actually work against hangovers. Unlike white wines and beer, red wine tannins make you thirsty, which aids in the wine-water waltz recommended above.
Tip four: Drink lower alcohol red wines. Well, duh. Aim for wines of 12.5% ABV or less, which is the sweet spot for food pairing, too. Bonus: less alcohol in the wine, more wine you can consume.
Tip five: Drink quality wines. Cheaper wines are manipulated with various ingredients—acetaldehyde is public enemy number one, but there is a load of other stuff you do not even want to know about. Higher quality wines do not need mad-scientist chemistry to trick your palate and bash your brain in the morning.
Acetaldehyde is not your friend. It is an organic compound found in wine—and other things such as coffee, bread, and ripe fruit. In wine, it is produced by partial oxidation of alcohol by your liver, the workhorse in your wine surfeit. Acetaldehyde is a major cause of your morning-after misery.
Surprising to many, red wine produces the least amount of the dreaded acetaldehyde. Getting deep into wine weeds, here are acetaldehyde levels produced by wine types, expressed in mg/L:
• Red wine 4-212
• White wine 11-493
• Sweet wine 188-248
• Sherry 90-500
Bottom line: If you drink higher end, lower alcohol, red wines chased with water each glass, you can hang with your party-hearty pals without as much regret in the morn. One more thing, sulfites have zero impact on your hangover, but that is another column.
Last round: A wine drunk, a cocaine addict, and a meth head are in a car. Who is driving? Answer: The police.