Purpose of review: Wine contains chemical and biological contaminants. Symptoms such as facial flushing, asthma and oral allergic swelling and burning (oral syndrome) have been attributed to these contaminants and food additives. Their clinical implications should be known.
Recent findings: Recent studies have reported a high prevalence of hypersensitivity symptoms after intake of alcoholic drinks in the general population. Red wine was the most common beverage implicated. Wine contains many contaminants. Some of them come from Hymenoptera insects that fall into the wine when grapes are collected and pressed. We have found patients with allergic symptoms related to wine consumption who are sensitized to Hymenoptera venom without previous stings. The aim of this study is to assess the potential importance of their sensitization to Hymenoptera antigens as the cause of their symptoms and also to comment on other recent studies on wine hypersensitivity.
Summary: We found patients with allergic symptoms related to wine consumption who are sensitized to Hymenoptera venoms. Challenges were negative with sulfites, other additives and aging wines, but positive with young wines. Sera from all the patients detected Hymenoptera venom antigens. We report the first cases of sensitization to venom antigens by the oral route.