Wine contains substances that can irritate or be toxic to the body. While the body processes the alcohol and byproducts, people may experience symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, thirst, or nausea.

Some chemicals specifically found in wine may contribute to a hangover, such as tyramine, histamine, and sulfites.

This article looks at why wine may cause a more severe hangover than some other types of alcohol, ways to manage a wine hangover, and hangover prevention tips.

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All alcohol can cause a hangover, but certain components in wine may cause a worse hangover than some other forms of alcohol.

This may be due to:

  • Sulfites: Wines often contain sulfites, a type of preservative, which may worsen hangover symptoms such as headaches in those sensitive to sulfites.
  • Congeners: Dark liquors, such as red wine, are also higher in congeners than clear liquors. Congeners are compounds that help improve the smell and taste of alcoholic drinks and may contribute to a hangover.
  • Acetaldehyde: Wine also produces acetaldehyde, a chemical that forms when the body metabolizes alcohol. Acetaldehyde is a toxic substance that can cause inflammation in the liver, gastrointestinal tract, and other organs.
  • Tyramine: There are also high levels of tyramine in wine, which may trigger headaches in people who experience migraine headaches.
  • Histamine: Wine also contains histamine, which may produce unwanted side effects in people, particularly those intolerant to histamine.
  • Dehydration: Wine, like all types of alcohol, can also cause mild dehydration. This can contribute to hangover symptoms such as a headache, thirst, and fatigue.

Managing a wine hangover is a case of waiting for the body to clear out the toxins from the alcohol.

However, the following tips may help people ease their symptoms during their recovery:

  • Staying hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help to counter the dehydrating effects of wine. Rehydration sachets or sports drinks can also help replace electrolytes.
  • Eating healthy food: Eating nutritious food may help people feel more energized and restore lost minerals and vitamins. People may want to choose a vegetable broth, such as bouillon soup, or stick to bland food if they feel nauseous.
  • Resting: Getting enough sleep and rest after drinking alcohol allows the body to repair, which includes healing irritated or inflamed tissues, rehydrating, and returning to regular brain and immune system activity.

It is advisable to use any over-the-counter pain relief medications with caution to help relieve hangover symptoms.

Medications that contain acetaminophen can be toxic to the liver if combined with alcohol. Drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen may also be irritating to the stomach lining.

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Find out more about treating hangovers:

The most effective way to prevent wine hangovers is to avoid drinking or only drink in moderation.

Drinking in moderation means not exceeding the recommended daily intake, which in the United States is as follows:

  • two drinks or fewer for males
  • one drink or less for females

People may want to choose a nonalcoholic wine or a wine with low alcohol content.

White wine or rosé may be a better option than red wine, as lighter-colored liquors contain less congeners than dark liquors.

People can also make sure to drink plenty of water alongside any alcoholic wine to help prevent dehydration and associated hangover symptoms. Drinking water before and after sleeping can also help people stay better hydrated.

Aiming to finish drinking earlier in the evening can also help the body begin processing the alcohol before bed. This may help improve sleep, which can help reduce hangover symptoms.

Learn more about ways to prevent a hangover.

This section answers some common questions about wine hangovers.

Dark liquors may cause more severe hangovers. This includes drinks such as whiskey, brandy, bourbon, and red wine.

Dark liquors have higher levels of congeners, which form during fermentation and may contribute to hangover symptoms.

What alcohol gives you the least hangover?

Lighter-colored liquors, including gin and vodka, may cause fewer hangovers than darker liquors, such as whiskey or brandy.

This may be because lighter-colored liquors contain less congeners than dark liquors, which may contribute to hangovers.

However, any alcoholic drink may cause a hangover if people drink it in large quantities.

Wine may produce a more severe hangover than some other types of alcohol due to certain compounds in wine, particularly red wine.

The only way to prevent a hangover is to avoid drinking, but drinking in moderation may help prevent or reduce hangover symptoms.

Drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep and rest, and replacing lost vitamins and minerals with nutritious food may help ease symptoms while people recover from a wine hangover.