Wine Allergy? Insects May Be to Blame
Some Wine Allergies Stem From Insect Chemicals, Doctors Report
Aug. 15, 2007 -- Some allergic reactions to wine stem from insect chemicals,
new research shows.
In tomorrow's edition of The New England Journal of Medicine, doctors
in Spain describe the cases of five patients who had allergic symptoms after
drinking grape juice or newly pressed red or white wines.
One of those patients had anaphylaxis -- a sudden, severe allergic reaction.
Another patient experienced asthma symptoms. The three other patients had
allergic reactions in their mouths and flushed faces.
The doctors, who included Alicia Armentia, MD, PhD, of the Hospital Rio
Hortega in Valladolid, Spain, gave the patients various allergy tests,
including skin tests.
The skin tests showed that the patients were allergic to Hymenoptera, which
is the order of animals that includes ants, bees, and wasps.
Chemicals from Hymenoptera insects may be present in some wines, according
to the doctors, who also found that none of the patients was allergic to aged
The doctors aren't implying that all new wines or grape juices contain the
insect chemicals, or that no aged wines trigger allergic reactions, or that all
wine allergies are due to insect chemicals.
The Spanish report only focuses on a few patients; it's not a thorough
primer on wine allergies.
If you have a wine allergy, talk to your doctor about what types of wines --
if any -- you might be able to drink.