The researchers at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz said wine is an ancient food across cultures all over the world, and its effects on health have been extensively studied -- but only a few case reports of wine intolerance or wine allergy have been reported.
In 2010, 4,000 people ages 20-70 randomly chosen from population lists were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their alcohol intake and report any intolerance reactions or allergy-like symptoms after drinking wine.
The study, published in Deutsches Arzteblatt International, found almost 9 percent of women self-reported wine intolerance versus 5.2 percent of men.
Allergy-like symptoms were more common after the consumption of red wine. The most commonly reported reactions were skin flushing, itching, nasal congestion, diarrhea, rapid heart rate and stomach or intestinal cramps.
"The alcoholic drinks in general, and in particular red wine, seem to be important triggers for intolerance," the researchers said in the study. "In this study, 19 of the 68 people with wine intolerance also reported a general intolerance to alcohol. This could therefore indicate that a more generalized intolerance to alcohol is one of the causes for the observed wine."