Winebits 156: Wine headaches, wine writing, sweet wine

? No, it’s not the sulfites: Finally, an answer to one of the most dread questions in the wine business: “I get these headaches from red wine, and I’m told they’re from sulfites. Is that true?” No, of course, has always been the answer, and now scientists have a better explanation why (assuming the headache isn’t hangover induced). It’s a substance called glycoproteins, and it looks to be the culprit behind wine headaches, according to a report in the monthly Journal of Proteome Research.

? Wine writers are cranky: No, not shocking news, but it’s part of the third Wine Writers Survey (link opens a PDF), conducted by wine publicist Tom Wark, who runs the top-rated Fermentation blog. The findings are a mixed bag, and I’m not sure the methodology is as rigorous as it could have been, but it’s interesting to read nonetheless. Wark focuses on the blogger vs. traditional media angle, which I’ve never thought was the real point. Rather, the focus should be on professionals — those of us who do it for a living, whether in print or in the cyber-ether — as opposed to those who do it as sidelight. To me, that’s the most interesting comparison, because that’s been the biggest change over the past decade or so. It’s not that technology has changed, but that changing technology has allowed people to write about wine who would not have been able to write about wine before. And, frankly, all those so-called amateurs are what drives so many in the wine business crazy. (And a tip ‘o the Curmudgeon’s fedora to Tom Johnson at Louisville Juice for sending this my way.)

? Sweet wine, better palate? Or so suggests a study conducted in conjunction with the Consumer Wine Awards in Lodi this year. It found that physiology plays a major role in determining wine preferences, and that sweet wine drinkers are often the most sensitive tasters, “shattering” the myth that sweet wine consumers don ?t taste as well as those who love “better” wines. A nicely written piece by my old pal Paul Franson.