One of the most frequently asked questions I hear each time I drink wine I get a headache. Now there are a myriad of things that go one in fermenting a wine and it is hard to boil the answer down to one specific item.
My first question is what types of styles of wines you enjoy. More often than not it is wines from South America and the other parts of the “New World” mostly in the value category, this means $10-$15 or so.
I try to be as diplomatic as possible and I politely say spend a few dollars more on wine and I think you will be surprised.
Many new world wines are not fermented to complete dryness, this means there is some residual sugar left in the wine, we talk dry but drink sweet here folks.
A winemaker cannot fully control the shipping conditions of a container, if that container of wine gets a little too warm and the wine in it has some sweetness and not enough sulfur it will start to re-ferment in the bottle. What winemakers do is they add a little bit more sulfur at bottling to ensure this does not happen. This higher level of sulfur in the wine is what can cause the closed sinuses or headache the next day.
Many old world wines, French, Italian, Spanish, are fermented to dryness thus requiring less sulfur at bottling, thus the chance of getting a headache is substantially reduced.