Asthma UK community forum

Is anyone else allergic to wine?

I seem to be developing an allergy to wine! And I love wine! For a while I have got urticaria on my face and neck, and more recently my face and throat have started to swell. So far (touch wood it has gone away with piriton and I have not had to reosrt to the epipen). I think it may irritate my asthma slightly as the smoking ban seems to have had only a minor effect.

Having looked through old threads other people seem to be allergic to the sulphites. How do you know it is the suplhites? It seems to happen with all colours of wine with champagne being the worst (according to a wine buff I know champagne is notoriously high in suplhites). Is there any chance it could be mould spores (as I know I react to thos evil things).

Thanks for any suggestions

11 Replies

I can not drink any type of wine,cider and some largers if I get the wrong larger or even smell wine or cider my ears go bright red then it goes on my face then through my whole body and its boiling to the touch it only goes off after taking a cetrizine somrtimes 2 and my asthma plays up for the rest of the night xxx


Most wine contains sulphites (note ites not ates) it is a flavour preservative and thay can trigger asthma. As a general rule the cheaper the wine the more sulphites. All bottles are marked but unhelpfully they just say ""contains sulphites"" not how much. I tend to stick with wines I know don't affect me although they do tend to cost a bomb, if you can find a local vineyard you might be lucky and be able to but wine that is sulphite free. Note that even champagnes contain sulphites. Verve Cliquot is fine must have only a few in but last time I had Lanson it was a nightmare.



me too - used to love red wine but realised a couple of years ago that it sometimes made me wheezy- after one bed episode I decided to stop drinking it as it wasn't worth the after effects on my chest. I have recently however been ok with Jocobs Creek pinot noir chardonnay. When I decided to stop my accupuncturist told me that whisky was usually ok! As I like malts this is what I mostly drink - I sound like an alkie I usually have a bottle for around 2 years and when out usually only have one. I did hear on a radio 4 programme that for some it is the fish scales ? kused to clarify the wine. Therefore vegetarian or vegan wines would be fine - not really tried this out though. Does anyone else have any other ideas or suggestons?



Yeah, I also seem to react badly to wines - red wine seems to be worst for me - but I just avoid it altogether now - my sister works for a wine company and gets some taster bottles to try, but I just avoid it now.

Sarah x


I'm another whiskey drinker. Never been a big wine drinker, and then only liked white, but the last couple of times I have had some, I have been violently sick. Does that count as a 'reaction'?



I'm another whiskey drinker. Never been a big wine drinker, and then only liked white, but the last couple of times I have had some, I have been violently sick. Does that count as a 'reaction'?



I dont like wine, nor am i allergic. But my asthma is easily triggered by it. I just avoid it completely as well. What is the point of consuming something one does not like?


Thanks for all of the replies! good to know that I am not the only one.

Obviously I will have to develop a taste for whisky.



Im allergic to alcohol in all forms,which include the rub used in hospital,and alcohol in the bottle i havnt attempted wine in years but recently someone dropped a bottle of wine at the supermarket and i had to escape for a much needed neb!!

You are not alone,I had a problem with newspaer print when i was in hospital last week!! I dont know if i use the one on the bottom of the pile it would make any difference!! Im ok with the free ones that come in the door.



In reality there is very little 'organic wine'. However there is a lot of wine made using 'organic grapes'. The biggest barrier to producing organic wine is preservatives.

Not all countries require wines to label their additives. In Europe there are no requirements for labelling while in the US sulphite labelling is compulsory. As a result many wines from the New World for import to the UK and US markets will often label sulphites, while many European wine makers simple do not bother labelling their additives.

Sulphites are present in both red and white wines and cause asthma like symptoms, estimated to occur in 5 to 10% of people with asthma. These symptoms are more likely to occur in people with severe asthma, or those in whom asthma is poorly controlled.

Reactions can be mild through to life-threatening. Occasional people exposed to sulphites, will experience symptoms similar to anaphylaxis with flushing, fast heartbeat, wheezing, hives, dizziness, stomach upset and diarrhoea, collapse, tingling or difficulty swallowing.

I only need to drink less than a half of a glass of white – usually the worst – or red, to experience major breathing symptoms, IF these wines contain high levels of sulphites. The problem is that I don’t know what my minimum sulphite trigger level is, as I can drink a variety of white and red wines without any problem. And cost is not an issue as I’ve experienced breathing problems with wines costing ummm upwards of £10 a bottle – not bought by me I hasten to add – but no symptoms with cheap and cheerful £3.99 a bottle of...

I suppose it’s a matter of finding out what your minimum trigger level for sulphites is.

There must be an asthma based research Phd out there for finding out about the severity of breathing symptoms and relationship re intake of sulphites (hic) when drinking wine!

BTW sulphites are present in other foods and sometimes hard to track down, because the food manufacturers ‘masquerade’ the chemical.

Here’s a suspect list of those names.

E 220, E 221, E 222, E 223, E 224, E 225, E 226, E 227, E 228 (European names)

Potassium bisulphite/metabisulphite

Sodium bisulphite/dithionite/metabisulphite/sulphite

Sulfur dioxide

Sulphiting agents

Sulphurous acid



I start coughing if I so much as LOOK at red wine. No fun is it?


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