Around seven percent of adults suffer from an intolerance to wine. This is the result of a survey presented by Peter Wigand and co-authors in the current edition of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztelb Int 2012; 109 (25): 437-44).
The authors evaluated 948 questionnaires that were returned from the 4000 sent out to randomly selected people between the ages of 20 and 69 years. They found that women (8.9%) were more often affected by an intolerance to wine than men (5.2%). The most commonly reported reactions included flushed and itchy skin and a runny nose. The symptoms were particularly common after drinking red wine. Additionally, people with a wine intolerance were more likely to report other food intolerances.
The interpretation of Wigand et al. is that these results to not necessarily indicate a true allergy, but rather an intolerance to alcohol, biogenic amines, sulfites, or other ingredients.