Nobody likes to be in pain, especially when that pain can be avoided. We certainly don’t want to deal with pain that’s caused by something as inherently enjoyable as drinking wine.
Obviously, the best way to avoid a wine-induced headache is to follow the guidelines associated with all alcoholic beverages: Don’t drink too much. Exactly how much will vary by body type, age and other factors. You basically need to get to know your body and your personal tolerance level.
Then there’s the histamine headache, which impacts some people more than others. Studies have shown that consumption of aged beverages and food — such as wine and dry-aged beef — prompts our bodies to release histamines that create allergy-type symptoms. One way to avoid a histamine-caused headache is to take a histamine blocker prior to consuming the aged food or drink.
Some people get a headache when they combine wine with a sugary dessert. It’s not a scientific computation, but for many people, alcohol + sugar = headache. For them, the best idea is to simply skip dessert — or take dessert home to enjoy later with water or another non-alcoholic beverage.
But the best tip of all — one I’ve been sharing with fellow wine lovers and wine classes for years — is to hydrate while drinking wine. When I’m at a restaurant and order a glass or bottle of wine, I also ask the server for a glass of water and request that they come back to the table often with more water.
The general rule for keeping hydrated and avoiding a headache caused by dehydration is one glass of water for each glass of wine. My personal rule is two glasses of water for each glass of wine.
As I like to ask people, “Would you rather have to get up once during the middle of the night, or possibly have to deal with a headache?”