Column: Top tips to avoid a festive hangover

Shelena Richardson of Online Wine Cellar Ltd with some of the products she sells
Shelena Richardson of Online Wine Cellar Ltd with some of the products she sells

Tis the season for making merry...

Andregretting it the next day, when the inevitable festive humdinger of a hangover kicks in.

But there are ways of enjoying the mistletoe and wine without ruining your Christmas, says Sheffield businesswoman Shelena Richardson.

She should know; she owns her own wine business, Onlinewinecellar.co.uk, yet manages to avoid what must surely be the hazard of the job.

“I love wine and champagne but I very rarely get hangovers,” says the 36-year-old.

“I can’t afford them - I’m a mother of two young children and I run two businesses.”

Shelena knows how to avoid from alcohol getting the better of her.

And it isn’t only about exercising moderation. “A bit of inside knowledge goes a long way.

Certain wines reduce the risk of a hangover,” says Shelena, of Handsworth, who has shared her tips below.

“Cheers to Christmas without a hangover!”

Avoid dehydration:

The major cause of a hangover is dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic and the more you drink, the more dehyrated you will become. Drinking one glass of water for every glass of wine is the simple remedy.

Drink red wine instead of white:

White wine, champagne and prosecco actually quench our thirst - so we forget about the need for water.

Choosing the right red wine will make you far more likely to reach for the water glass.

Red wines with a moderate tannin content, such as Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvedre, make our mouth feel dry, which makes us thirsty.

Acetaldehyde, an organic chemical compound found in many wines, some beer and spirits, has been shown to increase the severity of hangovers. 
Red wine has the lowest levels of acetaldehyde. 
High levels of this chemical are found in sherry and some sweet wines.

Go organic:

Wines with chemical additives are more likely to cause hangovers. Organic wines are made from grapes grown without the use of artificial or synthetic chemicals, such as herbicides and pesticides. 
Organic winemakers take more care and rely on natural treatments to counter disease in the vines. Also, most organic wines contain half there maximum legllimit of sulphur dioxide – a common preservative in wine that is used to inhibit or kill unwanted yeasts and bacteria.

One school of thought is that the chemicals from pesticides, and sulphites, pass into the wine and cause worse hangovers. To be sure a wine is truly organic, check it has organic certification. This ensures the grapes have been grown to comply with the strict standards of both the particular certifying body and the department of agriculture.

Read the label

Most wine-lovers scour the label on the bottle for the vintage, the producer and the tasting notes. But if you want to avoid a bad hangover, there’s another vital piece of information in there: the alcohol content. And stronger and stronger wines are appearing on the market. For a wine that is less likely to give you a hangover, choose one with alcohol levels of 12.5-13.5.

Go for a smaller glass

Huge wine glasses look more stylish. But they make a standard small measure of wine took miniscule. It’s all too tempting to continue pouring. And without realising, you’re drinking two measures.