Does port give you headaches?

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Does port give you headaches?

Postby Jenise » Sun Nov 19, 2006 4:15 pm

I don't know if it's something particular to port itself or the fact that it's a high alcohol hit at the end of an evening that has usually already contained a significant amount of wine, but one glass of port at night and you can set your watch by the headache I'll have the next morning.

Over the years I've met others who say they too suffer. Who else gets headaches (clearly, not our Doris), and does anyone know of any physiological reason besides 18% for this reaction?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Does port give you headaches?

Postby Ian Sutton » Sun Nov 19, 2006 4:24 pm

Jenise
Definitely, as I remember all too well the banging head after a pub port crawl a few years ago. Maybe it's the combination of wine + spirit involved in port.

It seems to be less of an issue with aged port, but maybe that's because we savour it more?

Interesting question!

regards

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Re: Does port give you headaches?

Postby Robin Garr » Sun Nov 19, 2006 5:18 pm

Jenise wrote:I don't know if it's something particular to port itself or the fact that it's a high alcohol hit at the end of an evening that has usually already contained a significant amount of wine, but one glass of port at night and you can set your watch by the headache I'll have the next morning.

Over the years I've met others who say they too suffer. Who else gets headaches (clearly, not our Doris), and does anyone know of any physiological reason besides 18% for this reaction?


First, maybe I'm lucky, but I'm happy to report that Port is not a morning headache-producer for me. It's certainly tempting to blame the creeps-up-on-you effect, though ... you put it well about a high-alcohol drink at the end of the evening, and of course it goes down soooo well. :)

I wonder if there's any possibility that the heavy tannins and other sediment components could be implicated as well, though - sort of like the "congeners" in brown liquors that are said to be the real culprits in their pounding-hammer effect on the morning after.
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Re: Does port give you headaches?

Postby Jenise » Sun Nov 19, 2006 5:40 pm

Robin, I've wondered if it isn't something in the fortifier. I don't always have to wake up with the headache, though, sometimes I go to bed with it too--it can occur pretty quick. Not ice cream headache quick, but close.
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Re: Does port give you headaches?

Postby Otto » Sun Nov 19, 2006 5:51 pm

I've never experienced a headache from port (well ... I did once when I shared a bottle with just one other friend, but that's another matter). I sometimes get strange headaches from Viognier. On occasion it's enough that I sniff the wine and I almost immediately get a terrible headache. Other times I have to drink a couple sips before it comes. Other times I can drink a normal dinner amount (2-4 glasses) and get no headache. It's really mysterious. But it happens often enough with the variety, that I tend to shun it a bit. I really wish someone could explain why. I'm guessing with the viognier that the sickly sweet perfume of it is a major issue (I sometimes get unbearable headaches from ladies' perfumes also). So there isn't anything in the scent of the Ports that this happens with that you can't stand?
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Re: Does port give you headaches?

Postby Robin Garr » Sun Nov 19, 2006 6:03 pm

Jenise wrote:Robin, I've wondered if it isn't something in the fortifier. I don't always have to wake up with the headache, though, sometimes I go to bed with it too--it can occur pretty quick. Not ice cream headache quick, but close.


Whoa, I hadn't even thought of that. Port uses brandy, a brown spirit, and I'll bet it's loaded with congeners. Obvious question: Do you find a similar effect from Cognac, or even Scotch, Bourbon, etc.? Maybe you're unusually sensitive.
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Re: Does port give you headaches?

Postby Randy Buckner » Sun Nov 19, 2006 7:09 pm

The combination of congeners, hisamines and alcohol is the likely scenario. While white wine had around 12 ug/100 g of histamines, Port has almost 400 ug. Brandy has twelve times the congeners of vodka. Combine this with the increased diuresis of the 20 percent alcohol of Port, and increased capillary permeability in the GI tract, and you have the makings for a nice headache.
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Re: Does port give you headaches?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Nov 19, 2006 9:52 pm

Nah, no problem with headaches apart from my visits to Santorini when I usually have too many refills in the outdoor patio of the Bouzeri Taverna whatever.
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Re: Does port give you headaches?

Postby Jenise » Tue Nov 21, 2006 8:53 pm

Randy Buckner wrote:The combination of congeners, hisamines and alcohol is the likely scenario. While white wine had around 12 ug/100 g of histamines, Port has almost 400 ug. Brandy has twelve times the congeners of vodka. Combine this with the increased diuresis of the 20 percent alcohol of Port, and increased capillary permeability in the GI tract, and you have the makings for a nice headache.


Bucko, you probably explained it. That's why I can sometimes tolerate one small pour but any more can spell doom.
Last edited by Jenise on Wed Nov 22, 2006 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Does port give you headaches?

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Wed Nov 22, 2006 9:11 am

No problem with port, Jenise, although I'm noticing that bigger reds do sometimes wreak havoc with my head. The other night I had a 15.5% Renwood zin that had my head throbbing in a pre-migrane pattern after the second glass.
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Re: Does port give you headaches?

Postby Cynthia Wenslow » Thu Nov 23, 2006 9:19 pm

The only headache I get from Port is from trying to figure out how to fit it into my already-stretched-too-thin wine budget. 8)
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Re: Does port give you headaches?

Postby Paul Winalski » Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:54 am

It does this for me, too. Especially Australian "port".

My money's on the nasty congeners in the cheap brandy that they use to fortify it.

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