Do you enjoy a glass of wine now and then? I do. At least I do now.
I used to be the victim of nauseating headaches whenever I consumed as little as an ounce of red wine. Hah, but that did not mean all white wines were innocent either! After one or two sips of any golden elixir, I could tell if it was going to be a friend or foe.
Like many, I innocently blamed my affliction on the sulfite content in wines. Have you ever mentioned this to a wine connoisseur and been rebuffed? I have. They told me that this was not possible because sulfites are a natural component of all wine fermentation and therefore, without exception, all wines contain them. I countered that to my knowledge vintners also add sulfites to wines as a preservative. People sensitive to the element like me could tolerate it up to a threshold, just not beyond. That’s when they would bite their tongue and politely change the topic of conversation.
However, what those wine aficionados failed to mention was that there are a number of compounds in wines than can trigger headaches. Sulfites are only one of them. Some of the other naturally occurring culprits include histamine, tyramine, tannins and alcohol. The amount of each of these varies depending on the type of grape used in the wine and the growing conditions, including simple things like the amount of limestone present in the soil. The complexity of what could have been causing my headaches was becoming mind boggling.
So what changed for me?
About two years ago we were celebrating my birthday at our Golf Club’s wine night. The dinner was showcasing a local winery, owned and operated by Jane and Peter Ellmann. Peter, the winemaker, introduced us to his Muse Winery red wines. I was so swayed by his stories, I kept sipping the Cabernet Sauvignon alongside the marinated roasted duck the chef had prepared. I returned to the days of yore – enjoying the richness of a fine red wine paired superbly with a delicious meal. I drank the glass I’d been offered, declaring any fall-out was well worth the delight I had just experienced. Throwing caution to the wind, I also savored a glass of Merlot with the rich dark chocolate dessert. I remember walking home that night dancing with joy on the street.
My biggest surprise: I did not experience a debilitating headache. In fact, I had no aftereffects whatsoever!
I don’t know why Peter’s wines suit me, but they do. Muse Winery grapes are grown locally on the island as well as by growers in British Columbia’s Okanagan region. No sulfites are added during the fermentation process. And beyond that – I’m just so happy to have found an exceptional red wine I can occasionally savor with a meal.
Since that magical night, I have branched out and tried other red wines, discovering many gems out there that I can drink with relative comfort. However, during the summer months I often find myself visiting Muse Winery, a touch of Provence, nestled across the street of the Deep Cove Chalet on Vancouver Island Peninsula.
This post reflects personal views and is not associated with any sponsors or business promotions for any specific product or service mentioned.