The Wand Wine Filter

The wife will often get headaches from wine. We believe it’s coming from sulfites.

The wand wine filter claims to remove sulfites, and histamines.

Has anyone used it? Does it help?

Have her eat a dried apricot.

No headache then it’s not sulfates

Just to keep the terminology straight, sulfites are used on dried fruit. Sulfates have one more oxygen atom per sulfur atom and are less reactive.

Demian - you “believe” it’s coming from sulfites.

Based on what?

Shrimp is full of sulfites. As Chris notes, so is dried fruit, particularly those that keep their nice bright colors. So are many other things. According to Harvard, an allergy to sulfites is usually expressed as difficulty breathing, not headaches. And white wines often have more sulfites than red wines.

Tannins may be an issue and the wand won’t remove them.

Alcohol of any type can cause headaches.

Back in 1986, asthma was the fashionable health problem, much like gluten allergies are today, and the FDA identified sulfites as an allergen. So Congress banned sulfites from raw fruits and vegetables. Senator Strom Thurmond pushed for labeling on wine, and the feds required that warning labels regarding sulfites be disclosed on wine labels if sulfites could be detected at a level of 10 mg/L or higher. But if you can show that your wine has less than that, you can apply for an exemption and call your wine “sulfite-free”. That’s not really accurate though, because sulfites occur naturally in the fruit.

But the science has shown that something like under 1% of the population is allergic to sulfites at the levels they’re found in wine.

I have no idea whether those wands work or not and wouldn’t spend the money to find out because there are many gimmicks and gadgets marketed to people as being able to solve one problem or another. The problem they usually solve is not having enough money in the producer’s pocket. You might get your wife tested for allergies. And you can do some experimenting yourself - record the wines she drinks and the exact amount and what she eats with it, if anything, and whether or not she gets a headache. Some people are allergic to specific things in a particular wine - acids, tannins, any number of things.

I found out that I have an allergy to some acidic fruits. I always though it was entirely normal to break into a sweat when eating a grapefruit, pineapple, or orange. I was in my 30s when a girl told me that wasn’t normal at all. Who knew? But I still eat them. Once I was in a very cold cave in Hungary tasting wine. Their whites have incredible acidity. Everyone was wearing heavy overcoats and I was sitting there in shirtsleeves with a bit of perspiration on my face. Someone noticed and they all burst out laughing. But I was the only one who was comfortable. So have your wife checked to see if it’s something else.

Good luck!

Had this discussion a good number of times by now. Its almost never sulfites, and almost always histamines. Histamine wands and replaceable filters are available on Amazon, friend’s wife’s is using them with limited success. “Limited” since its not only wine that creates the issue, but plenty of foods, and she is now exploring that side as well trying to control what she eats.

Peter. Agree and sorry. iPhone flipped it on me. But thanks for the further clarity.

I would tend to agree that it is most likely histamines, which are created during the fermentation process.

That said, I am also of the belief that some of the ‘newer techniques’ that are being regularly employed - be it reverse osmosis, micro filtration for VA removal, velcorin, and other chemical additives to ‘stabilize’ wine - may be having negative health effects as well. We just don’t know . . .


The wife does have allergies. She takes medicine daily.

Don’t think it’s tannins, she get headaches with red and white wines but not every time.

Never gets headaches with beer or mixed drinks.

Larry, what gives you reason to think this? RO, filtration, etc. aren’t really altering chemical content, apart from water/etoh balance, obviously, maybe minor changes in the balance of compounds left or removed. Certainly not in any way that could be a health risk. Additives, velcorin, etc., are another thing.

It’s more of a ‘hunch’ than anything else - and I would agree that it would be more based on the latter issues than the former ones. But we simply don’t know for sure - all of these ‘technologies’ on their own may be doing nothing, but the ‘cumulative’ effect has never been tested . . . so we really don’t know. All I know is that either there are truly more people having ‘issues’ with wine from wine due to ‘nothing’ or there is something else going on . . .


It helps but does not stop the headaches entirely.

My wife stopped drinking red wine some years ago because of the headaches.

In the last couple of years she’s been getting them with whites so we tried the Wands.

They’ve helped but she has to limit herself to 2 glasses an evening or she will get a headache.

If that’s the case, an antihistamine would likely be more effective than a Wine Wand.

We’ll have to try it.

You can publish it in the Journal of Anecdotal Evidence, but they worked so well for my wife that I bought a big box of them. They need to sit in the glass for 3 minutes, so we only use them at home. They also worked well for a friend who had sworn off red wine. She tried them at my house then bought a bunch.
I haven’t noticed any change in the taste or smell or level of tannins when comparing a treated versus an untreated glass.

We don’t know for sure that filtration doesn’t cause health issues? How about bottling on Tuesday vs Saturday?

I don’t think “we don’t know that it doesn’t” should be promoted as a valid reason for concern in the absence of some potential explanation for why it does.


That’s not terribly uncommon, but one of the few things in wine that is almost certainly not causing these headaches is the sulfites. Take a look at this:

There is no medical research data showing that sulfites cause headaches!

The only study I’ve read about that tried to show a connection between sulfites in wine and headaches used a bunch of people who self-reported these headaches and thought they were coming from sulfites. The study found a negative correlation: the people who thought they got headaches from sulfites were less likely to report headaches when drinking wine that did contain sulfites vs. drinking wine that did not, in a blinded study. I can’t find the link right now.

There’s a tremendous amount of misinformation out there, some being spread by doctors with absolutely no evidence.

Not sure if this will help, but it might be worth a try. My wife also has allergies and is on medication for it. Wine drinking does not give her a headache, but causes a flare up in other allergy symptoms like sneezing, itchy nose, etc. If she knows we are having wine, her preventative is to take one Advil, a half hour or so before. Works most of the time. We call this her “prep”. Good luck.

Apologies for the off-topic post, but a gluten allergy is not a “fashionable health problem” but the real deal for many folks. In addition, those that suffer from celiac disease, which is not an allergy, have to avoid all gluten. However, I do agree that there are many fad diets around these days that require gluten avoidance but that is a completely different than an actual allergy.




Just to clarify - I do not believe that regular filtration causes any issues whatsoever. My point is that there are lots of other ‘things’ taking place with wine production now than ever, and we truly don’t understand all of the ramifications of these combined and no one really is looking into it.

I hear more folks than ever having ‘issues’ with wine - is it because there are simply more folks than ever drinking it or something else?

We simply don’t know . . .

Advil (ibuprofen) is an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.

It might stop a headache but has no anti-histamine properties.

Perhaps it’s the placebo effect.

Next time give her a vitamin C tablet and tell her it’s ibuprofen and see what happens.

Gluten (from wheat) causes mild inflammation.

Many people who have other diseases of inflammation (Crohn’s, UC, arthritis, etc.) find some relief when eliminating gluten from their diets.

I have UC and it really helped me.