Friday, January 1, 2010

OMG! I think I'm allergic to champagne!!

Those of you who know me in real life, know I'm not a big wine drinker.  I never really developed a taste for, or learned enough about wine to drink it often.  I usually drink beer - mostly ale, tequila, rum and whiskey.  I very rarely have more than 2 drinks - and if I have 2, it's over a longer period of time.  I have never had a problem other than "the asian flush" if I drink too fast my cheeks light up like light bulbs.  But I'm more of a slow milker so that usually isn't a problem, except maybe on a really hot day in the summer.

Last night, being New Year's Eve, Curt picked up a bottle of Barefoot Bubbly Pinot Grigio champagne.  He tasted it and liked it, and figured it would be better than what I picked up for New Year's Eve.  ( I had gotten a triple fermented - thus extra bubbly - Le Fin du Monde -  comes in a heavy wine bottle with the wired in cork, but is most definitely a yummy beer)

We had our usual New Year's celebration.  A couple friends, slow but steady stream of appetizers, board games -Cranium - Pop 5 this time, and then triominoes.  Around 1130 Curt broke out the bubbly -  and sparkling grape juice for Angie ( although since she is just about 18, Curt mixed about 25% champagne into her glass)  After my first flute - sipped over half an hour, and if your interested is really good - I had the "flush" thing, but I kind of ignored it, as it usually goes away soon enough.  I had the second flute at midnight, but took about another half hour to finish.  

I thought my heart was going to beat through my chest and explode!  I could feel my pulse in my lips, cheeks, ears and fingers!  I looked at my hands and my palms were RED , my fingers seemed swollen.  I went to the bathroom to wash my hands and my lips were huge, red and swollen, my eyes were so puffy and swollen and red you could barely see the whites of my eyes.  My cheeks and forehead were red!  I started getting red splotchy patches - big patches 6-8 inches in diameter!  We figured it was an allergy to something (although I never had that kind of allergic reaction to anything before - my only "allergy" is artificial sweetners  triggering migraines) and so Curt gave me Benydryl and a whole bottle of water to drink it down with.  Well any antihistimine puts me to sleep, so within 6 or 7 minutes I was out.  Curt (such a sweetie) stayed up a bit to make sure I didn't look any worse or start having breathing issues ( although after Benydryl he'd have had one hell of a time getting me back awake!)  

I woke up around 6, and other than my lips are still barely tingly and my eyes are a bit itchy I feel fine.  I can't think of anything other than the champagne that could have done this.  Everything else I ate, was food I eat semi regularly, and have never had any issues with.

I am considering getting a dr's appointment next week, mostly because of the pounding heart thing being really scary.

So have any of y'all ever heard of a champagne allergy?  I tried googling it, but didn't find anything other than other stories.


  1. Did you think sulfite? Not only are they sometimes added they also occur naturally in the fermantation process It could also be a grape allergy

    sorry you had such a reaction and you know people do develop allergies that they never had before!

  2. Definitely sounds like an allergic reaction; they can occur at any time -- and it may be a one time thing and never happen again. The sulfite is a likely candidate. I can't drink wines because something in them will trigger the Migraine from Hell about an hour after after I drink a glass.

    Could also have been something in the appetizers you ate, so don't discount those either.

    Sorry you had such a miserable start to the year. Here's hoping you got it all over with now and the rest of the year will be smooth sailing!

    (oh, and if that happens again -- get thee to an ER!)

  3. Glad you are alright. What a way to bring in the New Year.

  4. WOW...what a way to bring in the New Year. Let's hope it picks up for you and pronto :) Glad you are okay :) Hau’oli Makahiki Hou to you and your family.

  5. I had a similar experience last night. I didn't have the same reaction as you did, but I woke up ill. I only had half a glass of champaign and I woke up with a horrible upset stomach and vomiting. This happened to me the last time I had champaign as well but I didn't know what to associate the illness to until now.

    I don't have the same reaction to wine, other then like you said possible headaches.

    I am feeling better now, but was ill until about 1:00. I will read more up on sulfites to see if that may be it....I think I will be avoiding Champaign from now on

  6. So sorry to hear about what happened to you. It must have been something in that brand of champagne. I have never had a reaction I hope I never do I love champagne. I think I will stay away from that brand and kept to my cheap stuff Andre'.

  7. So I randomly found your blog while looking for a quote for something else... whatever. I am a bit of an expert in this area - I am a level 3 sommelier and I have a champagne allergy - and can absolutely confirm that there is a small percentage of the population that is allergic to champagne.

    As others have noted, you should not ignore the potential for something you ate to have triggered this, but it sounds to me like you had a reaction to the bubbly. Another alternative to consider is that the Barefoot sparkling is made from pinot grigio, a varietal not typically used to make sparkling wine though it is a mutation of a pinot noir which is one of the three grapes that can be used in champagne, and there may have been a chemical reaction producing a specific allergen for you. Additionally, the Barefoot goes through a process known as "fining" which is way more complicated to explain than necessary here, but can also produce allergens.

    Good luck with this, and I hope the rest of your month, year, etc. get better than the start.

  8. Wow that is very scary. I am glad you are ok. Did you ever get to the doctors to find out anything?

  9. Yep, it's an allergic reaction to the Barefoot Pinot Grigio. I just had a similar reaction just as severe and it scared me to death. In addition to your symptoms though, I had extremely itchy hands and feet. I can't take Benedryl though so I had to wait for it to pass. My reaction happened after drinking a glass of the regular Barefoot Pinot Grigio. I've had a bit of redness and splotching in the past when drinking certain wine but never this severe. Be sure to take note and avoid it in the future.


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