The grown-up guide to drink­ing wine with­out the hang­over How

Hate the after-ef­fects of overindulging? Make savvy choices and you’ll never suf­fer again

Woman & Home - - In This Issue... -

Tis the sea­son to be merry, and us Brits cer­tainly put that into ac­tion, with al­co­hol con­sump­tion ris­ing by 41%* over the fes­tive pe­riod. And al­though we know the per­pet­ual pop­ping of Prosecco corks is never go­ing to be “good” for us, it prob­a­bly won’t stop the ma­jor­ity of us from overindulging. Luck­ily, there are in­sider tricks when it comes to se­lect­ing your wine, which can be kin­der on your body.

“A lighter white like Pinot Gri­gio would be bet­ter in terms of less­en­ing any after-af­fects, than a heavy red such as a Rioja Reserva or a Châteauneuf-du-Pape,” says Neil Palmer, di­rec­tor and co-founder of Vin­tage Roots (vin­tage­roots.co.uk).

“This is not only be­cause it’s likely to be 11.5-12.5% al­co­hol (com­pared with 14-15% for those heav­ier reds), but also due to how the wine is pro­duced. Lighter whites haven’t been fer­mented in their grape skin for as long as reds. Toxic tan­nins and phe­nols are con­tained in grape skins, which can cause our bod­ies to re­act badly.”

The right white

There’s rarely an in­gre­di­ents list on a wine bot­tle, so it’s hard to know ex­actly what could be caus­ing it, but if you de­velop flu-like symp­toms after just a cou­ple of glasses, it could be the sul­phur.

“Sweeter wines are best avoided as they can be higher in al­co­hol and sul­phur, the wine preser­va­tive,” ad­vises Neil. “Many peo­ple are sen­si­tive to it, and this is also a con­trib­u­tory fac­tor to ‘feel­ing rough’ or de­vel­op­ing al­ler­gic re­ac­tions, rashes and headaches.”

And, al­though it’s hard to prove or­ganic wines con­tain more ben­e­fi­cial nu­tri­ents and min­er­als, they will have fewer nas­ties. “Cer­ti­fied or­ganic wine will con­tain fewer or vir­tu­ally no tox­ins, es­pe­cially pes­ti­cide residues,” says Neil. “how­ever, it does con­tain the same amounts of al­co­hol.”

So if you’re look­ing for low al­co­hol, what should you pick? “Choose from cooler re­gions, like Ger­many, North­ern France and Spain,” says Liam Steeven­son, mas­ter of wine from bor­ough Wines & beers. And taste has im­proved in re­cent years. “in the past, al­co­hol was ad­justed in the win­ery – to the detri­ment of the wine’s flavour – but, nowa­days, the clever work hap­pens in the vine­yard,” ex­plains Liam.

Last­ing dam­age

Rec­om­mended guide­lines are to drink no more than 14 units a week (about a bot­tle and a half of wine), but re­search** has re­vealed that 30% of 55 to 64 year-olds drink more than this.

“Short-term ef­fects of drink­ing more than usual over the fes­tive pe­riod in­clude tired­ness, slug­gish­ness, ab­dom­i­nal dis­com­fort, heart­burn, acid re­flux and weight gain,” says GP Dr Ju­dith holmes, from Spire Park­way hospi­tal in Soli­hull. For­tu­nately, if you have overindulged, a detox such as Dry Jan­uary (al­co­hol­con­cern.org.uk), which in­volves go­ing tee­to­tal for 31 days, is a use­ful tool.

“Dry Jan­uary can help re­verse many short-term ef­fects,” says Dr holmes. “how­ever, it can be much eas­ier if you have taken steps to look after your­self over the fes­tive pe­riod in the first place.”

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