I’ll admit it: there used to be something about wine that terrified me. It wasn’t just the threat of a glass of Merlot startling me in the dark, leaving my shirt fatally stained. It was the etiquette, too: the sniffing, the twirling, the ordering of the finest vintages when all I wanted was a lukewarm glass of Boone’s Farm and a bag of Fritos.
But, in my twenties, I started writing for a wine company after convincing them that I knew vino well (even though I didn’t). Under-qualified and inexperienced, I set out to learn as much as I could about the likes of Port and Riesling.
I discovered that – while certain aspects of wine are intimidating – most of it is a piece of cake. Or a piece of grape.
What’s more, wine (like all alcohol) is good for us if we consume it in moderation. This is well known – we heart red wine, in part, because of what it does for the cardiovascular system.
Yet the benefits don’t stop there. White wine helps the lungs, champagne offers neuroprotective benefits, and drinking at least five ounces a week of a little something something helps control type 2 diabetes. It may even aid weight loss in the obese, strengthen bones, and reduce the wear and tear of aging.
But, alas, it comes with a caveat: wine is notorious for hangovers….especially as we grow older. That is enough to leave many of us, including me, reaching for a bottle of water instead of a bottle of Malbec.
So, what can we do to have our grapes and drink them too? Raise a glass to the following:
Consume more water than you think you should: Alcohol and dehydration go hand-in-hand, skipping off together into the sunset of nausea and body aches. And most everyone knows to drink water when drinking beer, wine, or liquor. But some water might not be enough.
Alcohol, when introduced to the body, influences the hormones around vasopressin, which ultimately prevents water absorption. This is why signs of a hangover include dehydration and thirst in addition to the most prominent sign of laying on the bathroom floor and promising to never ever drink again.
A good rule of thumb is to sip a glass of water with every glass of wine consumed. Make that the bare minimum.
Use your experience: Anyone experienced with drinking likely knows what types of alcohol (and vintages of wine) give them the very worst hangovers. If a French Bordeaux always leaves you with a migraine but makes your cousin Janie feel fabulous, then it’s possible that you have some sort of intolerance to the vintage. And that Janie is a bitch.
Any alcohol that repeatedly comes with a side of “feeling terrible” is probably a spirit that doesn’t agree with you. Find something else that will.
Choose wisely: Wine with lower alcohol content, dry reds, and those with moderate tannins tend to be less likely to induce a hangover. So does wine that’s a little more expensive, as it’s void of the byproducts sometimes more present in cheap wines. That’s not to say a pricey Pinot will guarantee you an easy morning but drinking exclusively from a box won’t do you any favors, either.
Ultimately, size matters too. If you’re chugging wine out of a Big Gulp container, you’ll feel it the next day……no matter what precautions you take. Cheers to moderation….at least, usually.