When wine does not seem a good idea…

 Have you ever had a day when, irrespective of which wine you drink, you begin to think that alcohol is perhaps not a good idea. Is it you or the wine?

Well, those off days could very well be linked to either human or wine.  Let’s start with the wine and the presence of sulphites, which, for many, seems to be the obvious suspect. 


Wines contain sulphur dioxide (SO2) in various forms, collectively known as sulphites.     Potassium metabisulphite K2S2O5 is applied throughout various stages of winemaking, in liquid and powder form to ensure that microorganisms and or oxygen does not spoil the end product.  It is a fact that top quality grape bunches will need less metabisulphite added, since bacterial spoilage will not be an issue to deal with.  Bunches that are bruised or infected will rely on the addition of metabisulphite at higher levels to prevent possible or further degradation.  Wines do have to meet specific parameters in terms of bound and free sulphur levels and it stands to reason that the less used, the more advantageous to the end user’s health.  Some consumers have allergic reactions to sulphur dioxide, including a hangover!

 Most people can detect sulphur dioxide in water at around 11 mg/l, however it is less obvious in wine due to the presence of alcohol and acids.   Wines with higher sulphite levels do tend to give off an unpleasant smell like that of a struck match.  However, some consumers believe this to be the aroma of the wine, while others do not detect it at all.  If you are known to have allergic reactions to wine consider buying organically made wine or avoid over-indulging.  The reality is quite simply this: you get what you pay for.


No one said being female was easy and the menstrual cycle has been known to take the fun out of imbibing.  Intake of alcohol can affect the functioning of hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone during and before start of the menstrual cycle. 

 An increased rate of aromatization of testosterone (process during which testosterone is converted to estrogen) is stimulated by alcohol intake.  Progesterone levels also increase, resulting in reduced production of insulin, which is responsible for metabolising sugar and alcohol.   Increase of progesterone is responsible for sugar cravings that some women have and so it begins to make perfect sense how your body responds throughout a calender month. 

References: Griffiths, Mary: Introduction to Human Physiology

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