By Antonia Quirke
https://www.ft.com/content/dbb68260-d4b7-11e3-bf4e-00144feabdc0It started insidiously, in subtle, cheek-itching ways that made me think I had developed a mild allergy to my washing detergent. But soon I was sneezing every day for no apparent reason, sometimes until 4am. By a reluctant process of elimination I realised that the problem was wine. Or, more probably, it was the sulphur dioxide compounds that act as preservatives in the wine. Complaining to one’s doctor that Burgundy makes you sneeze was never going to garner much sympathy. Still, mine dosed me with antihistamines and explained that some people possibly lack the enzymes necessary to break down the sulphites added not just to wine but also to many foods (from dried fruit to sausages and guacamole). All wine contains naturally occurring sulphites, and it’s not simply a case of going organic to get around the problem. I did, and still sneezed. In fact, one madly expensive organic Zinfandel had my throat burning and tightening. Death by rosé. How middle-class can you get?