For many, ending the day by sipping a glass of merlot is a relaxing ritual that seems to contribute to overall wellbeing and quality of life. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to enjoy this much-loved fermented grape beverage without any unpleasant side effects.

We’re not talking about the headache you’re left with in the morning if you end up consuming three glasses instead of one. There are plenty of actual allergic symptoms for red wine. In some cases, these red wine allergy symptoms may cause serious danger and be a reason to stop drinking wine entirely. Of course, not all sensitivities or intolerances are actual allergies. In order to confirm that you have an allergy to wine, you will need to have tests done by a specialist.

In addition to being possible indicators of an overall allergy to alcohol, many symptoms stem from an intolerance to the components of wine specifically. With that said, an intolerance to red wine is in fact more common and is likely something you can diagnose yourself. Here are six red wine allergy symptoms that you should be careful of:

1. Headaches and nasal congestion

A common reason that red wine doesn’t agree with some people is due to the fact that they have a sensitivity to the histamines that wine contains. In this case, it is common to get a headache or nasal congestion after consuming the beverage. If these headaches are persistent, it may be time to switch your beverage of choice. You may prefer to switch to buying and drinking white wine instead.

2. Facial flushing

This is one of biggest red wine allergy symptoms that you might be having a reaction to the tannins in wine. It can appear as an overall flush or pinking colour that your face develops as you drink or can also appear as red splotches around your face and chest area that show up in inconsistent patterns. That being said, many people react to some tannins and not others, so it might not mean that you have to give up red wine entirely.

3. Hives

If you have a few sips of wine and start to break out in hives, you can be fairly sure that you have an actual allergy and shouldn’t respond lightly. Hives are quite a serious reaction from the body, likely caused by a response to the grape skins that are used to make wine. Regardless, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor and avoid any red wine until you’ve had a chance to visit an allergist.

4. Digestive troubles

The same tannins that can cause the facial flushing mentioned above can also be the culprit when it comes to tummy problems. If you tend to get a stomachache, feel nauseous, or experience diarrhea when drinking red wine, there’s a good chance it’s the tannins you’re reacting to. If you’re experiencing an allergy to tannins, you would also be likely to have symptoms when you drink coffee, black tea or eat chocolate.

5. Sneezing or a runny nose

Maybe you’ve also heard that it could be the sulfites found it wine that is causing you trouble? If your symptoms show up in the form of sneezing, itchiness, blocked or runny nose— that could very well be the case. Triggering symptoms similar to asthma, the sulfites in wine are known to cause some people to have allergy-like reactions.

6. Difficulty breathing or swallowing

Among the more serious symptoms (which should definitely not be ignored!), shortness of breath or trouble swallowing could mean that your body is rejecting something in the wine. Even if you’re not decisively sure that it the wine causing you to have problems, definitely stop your wine drinking until you’ve gone to see the allergist and the confirmed the reason for the symptoms conclusively.