Do you know what is in that cheap bottle of wine? Your head might thank you.

It is not as if wines that cost less than $10 are always going to make you feel bad or that wines that cost more than $100 are never going to leave you with a hangover.  How much wine you consume is the biggest variable in how you might feel the next day.  That should be obvious.

When you are hungover, it is because of a few things happening in your body. When you drink alcohol you are more likely to get dehydrated which leads to certain vitamin depletion.  Imbibing too much also leaves you with an accumulation of acetaldehyde, a by-product of your body metabolizing alcohol whose side effects makes your head throb, leaves your eyes sensitive to light and overall puts your body in a state where it feels like it has been filled with lead.

Plenty of variables will impact these effects, including what it is you were drinking in the first place. Sugar can accelerate the depletion of B vitamins, and some cheap wines are known to fall on the sweeter side of the spectrum.

Sulfites get a bad rap but they are naturally present in many things we consume, including wine but they cause hives not headaches.  About 1% of the general population is sulfite-sensitive. If you are looking to avoid sulfites, check out organically made wines, which won’t have any added sulfites, although they will still have trace amounts as it is a natural product of the fermentation process.

Congeners, impurities formed during fermentation, can make hangovers worse. Some liquors have more than others, particularly whiskey, bourbon and rum, and more congeners are typically found in red wine than in white. Typically, less expensive wines also tend to have more congeners in them.

Then there are histamines, which occur in wine and are known to cause headaches, so if you are histamine intolerant, that might make your hangover feel far greater.  Tannins can interfere with your serotonin levels, which can also lead to nasty headaches.   Some cheap wines might have added tannins or synthetic tannins, or because of the way the grapes are handled, they might have a whole bunch of tannins, but sometimes so do expensive wines. Less-expensive wines often use oak alternatives which can sometimes also aggravate headaches.

Taking all this information in, you can see that it’s not simply a matter of correlating the price of a wine with how it’ll make you feel the next day.  Go cheap or splurge, just be mindful of how much you drink of either.

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