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The Masked Tulip

Why Does Red Wine Make Me Drunk But White Wine Does Not?

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Only really started drinking red wine in recent years but I have noticed now that red wine will make me drunk and/or sleepy but white wine no longer does. This seems to have occurred after I started drinking red wine. For years I avoided red wine.

I suppose my blood levels would show me as being technically drunk with both but, with white, I just don't feel drunk at all. Not even relaxed or tipsy.

No doubt if I drunk a bottle of white I would get drunk but why does a glass, or two, of red make me drunk and give me a deep sleep whilst white does not touch me?

Any of you wine gurus know why?

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I've wondered that too.

I don't like white wine so I don't drink it. It tastes like wood varnish smells, if that makes any sense. Perhaps only to me. I don't even like champagne very much. It tastes of chemicals, a bit like Tizer (if they still make that).

I do like the taste of red wine. However some of it makes me feel like someone has tightened a vice around my forehead and is slowly winding it tighter. It also makes me highly argumentative and sometimes very melancholy, especially Rioja.

Beer makes me very drunk and very tired. It also gives me stinking hangovers. Even just a couple of Budweisers will make me regret drinking the next morning.

A small amount of vodka (less than or about 1cm in height) in a pint glass filled up with sugar free Coca Cola doesn't make me tired, I don't feel anywhere near as drunk, and I don't get the same hangovers.

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I picked up a bottle of white wine over the weekend for the first time in years and, well, I have drunk 3/4s of a bottle tonight and no affect on me. Nothing. I am typing this now and nothing. Technically, I imagine my blood levels would show me drunk as a skunk.

But a largish glass of red and I am tipsy and then out like a light. Odd, as I was an occasional drinker of white wine for years. When I was younger red wine gave me terrible migraines and I avoided it for decades.

Beer is hit and miss for me. There are so many beers out there that it is hard to say what causes what. Lidl do a German Pilsner for about 84p per bottle, which is very nice, and half a bottle of that and I am tipsy. A full bottle and I sleep the sleep of the dead. Other beers, often more expensive, make me feel lousy the following day. Aldi do several cheapish pilsners and they make me feel dreadful the morning after.

A wealthy neighbour of mine buys very expensive red wine and when I am invited to indulge I get very drunk but the following morning I feel fine. No headache. No awful feeling in my body. Just wonderful after a deep, relaxing sleep.

I have not drunk vodka for decades but when I did it had no affect on me. When I was a child I was at a Polish Easter gathering in the local RC church. There was a raffle and I won a bottle of cherry vodka. My dad was chuffed. The other men were chuffed. I was chuffed. My Mum was horrified.

As I got older I would be allowed occasional slurps of beer shandy, then vodka and vodka just seemed to have no affect. For years I was baffled by people who wanted to buy vodka to get drunk. It is odd as, even now, half a pint of the right beer and I am in a happy place.

Oh well, at least I get happy and eventually fall asleep when I get drunk. Would hate to be one of these violent types.

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I do like the taste of red wine. However some of it makes me feel like someone has tightened a vice around my forehead and is slowly winding it tighter. It also makes me highly argumentative and sometimes very melancholy, especially Rioja.

I think that is something to do with the tannins in red wine. I think the better the red wine the less the tannins it has and hence the less chance of headaches.

I suspect it is more complicated as that, perhaps with different levels of tannins affecting people differently.

But apparently the sugar levels and histamine levels in wine also can cause headaches. The below article suggests brewing a tea bag for 5 minutes and drinking the tea. If you get a headache then apparently you are vulnerable to tannins.

http://vinepair.com/wine-101/wine-and-headaches/

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I wonder if it's a time of day/occasion type of thing and maybe what you're feeling is tiredness or some other effect.

For example, white's the sort of thing you'd drink with friends on a summer's weekend afternoon with friends whereas red might be more of an evening drink when you're going to be naturally more tired, the effects of fatigue and alcohol are fairly similar so if one enhances the other that could be the explanation.

Edit:

A Google suggests the problem is that red contains melatonin (a sleep hormone) although the quantities involved are disputed, there does seem to be some internet agreement that red makes you sleepier than other drinks.

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I'm not a wine drinker but alcohol's effect upon me seems to be related to the sugar content; either it means a faster rate of absorption or it acts in concert with the alcohol by adding its own sugar rush. I lean to the latter.

So two pints of cider (about six spoonfuls of sugar per pint) has me half cut, two pints of equivalent strength beer (one to two spoonfuls of sugar per pint) or lager has me pleasantly relaxed, and two double whiskies (pretty much no sugar) have no noticeable effect.

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I think that is something to do with the tannins in red wine. I think the better the red wine the less the tannins it has and hence the less chance of headaches.

Some superb red wines are tannin-rich. Really nice rioja for instance. Posh red wines also have sediment - hence some of the rituals about how you store and pour.

Apart from the big difference made by the differing temperatures you drink wines at, I think the OP may be doing subjective things like drinking different wines in different circumstances. And having come to red later in life may have an effect in the psyche.

And of course red wine is - on average - stronger than white.

(Not claiming expertise - far from it - but I enjoy a good tipple. Generally with food).

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So two pints of cider (about six spoonfuls of sugar per pint) has me half cut, two pints of equivalent strength beer (one to two spoonfuls of sugar per pint) or lager has me pleasantly relaxed, and two double whiskies (pretty much no sugar) have no noticeable effect.

If there's one thing guaranteed to leave me with a really bad head the next day it's whisky.

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If there's one thing guaranteed to leave me with a really bad head the next day it's whisky.

With the caveat that it depends how much you have I meant there and then, just after drinking it. My dreadful hangovers come from dry cider which I blame on the sulphites put in as part of the fermenting process; I will very rarely have even one pint of it.

So very slow absorption of the alcohol from whisky but near instant from cider. It may be the sugar, may be the carbonation.

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With the caveat that it depends how much you have I meant there and then, just after drinking it. My dreadful hangovers come from dry cider which I blame on the sulphites put in as part of the fermenting process; I will very rarely have even one pint of it.

So very slow absorption of the alcohol from whisky but near instant from cider. It may be the sugar, may be the carbonation.

Hang on! Thought you were from real cider country. But you're describing something that sounds more like fizzy muck to me.

The danger of cider has always been that you can knock it back like a soft drink, then the alcohol (which is quite a bit higher than beer, but doesn't seem like it) hits you later. Heard some fine anecdotes about that from a family friend who was a geography lecturer in London and tried to warn her inexperienced students when they went on field trips to southwest England.

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According to a recent documentary, darker coloured alcoholic drinks are more likely to cause hangovers but I can't remember the common ingredient that is the culprit. Alzheimer's, here I come!!

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Hang on! Thought you were from real cider country. But you're describing something that sounds more like fizzy muck to me.

The danger of cider has always been that you can knock it back like a soft drink, then the alcohol (which is quite a bit higher than beer, but doesn't seem like it) hits you later. Heard some fine anecdotes about that from a family friend who was a geography lecturer in London and tried to warn her inexperienced students when they went on field trips to southwest England.

The sulphites go in pretty much all of it; it's a standrad procedure for homebrewing cider to sterlisie the apples before brewing and then to stop fermentation so it's in real cider as much as the stuff churned out by a Teeside chemical factory.

The only ones I can drink without a hangover are Woodpecker (although that's so sweet it makes my teeth ache) and farmhouse perry, the one you sometimes see handwritten signs for in Gloucester, Herford and Worcester (shires). Which is about the finest drink ever but because of the lack of preservatives must be drunk within two or three days.

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As an extension of TMT's issue, why does mixing certain drinks make you crazy drunk?

Snakebite as a supposed example.

I have never undertsood this either.

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As a total guess, could it be because they are served at different temperatures?

Maybe the red goes to your head quicker because the alcohol's a bit more volatile at the higher temperature? Also, white wine being cooler tends to be sipped, where as red is quite easy to glug (allegedly :D )

Here's a random chart to make it sound scientifically convincing..

VPplot.jpg

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I was always told never to make grapes with hops/grains.

Pfft. You never started a meal with beer before moving on to wine? Or had any kind of grain-based spirit with your coffee?

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I think that is something to do with the tannins in red wine. I think the better the red wine the less the tannins it has and hence the less chance of headaches.

I suspect it is more complicated as that, perhaps with different levels of tannins affecting people differently.

But apparently the sugar levels and histamine levels in wine also can cause headaches. The below article suggests brewing a tea bag for 5 minutes and drinking the tea. If you get a headache then apparently you are vulnerable to tannins.

http://vinepair.com/wine-101/wine-and-headaches/

That wouldn't give me a headache. However I can't drink strong tea because what it does do, is to make me sweat profusely to the point where it actually feels like my sweat glands start to ache from having to work too hard.

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That wouldn't give me a headache. However I can't drink strong tea because what it does do, is to make me sweat profusely to the point where it actually feels like my sweat glands start to ache from having to work too hard.

I get severe and painful hiccups from rye bread; it's the only thing I can't eat (as opposed to won't eat on principle or just don't like).

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As a total guess, could it be because they are served at different temperatures?

Maybe the red goes to your head quicker because the alcohol's a bit more volatile at the higher temperature? Also, white wine being cooler tends to be sipped, where as red is quite easy to glug (allegedly :D )

Here's a random chart to make it sound scientifically convincing..

VPplot.jpg

Absorption rate also depends on how often the stomach empties and we know different foods affects it.

Cinnamon actively slows down stomach emptying. Which is good if you have a problem with high sugar foods.

Here's a chart that proves it:

https://media2.wnyc.org/i/620/372/c/80/photologue/photos/random-graph.jpg

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