Why Does Wine Give Me Heartburn?

Last modified on June 6th, 2022 at 10:49 pm

**Disclosure: We recommend the best products we think would help our audience and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post contains affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, and we may earn a small commission. Read our full privacy policy here.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic medical illness caused by the lower esophagus’ inability to function normally. As a result, your stomach’s acid and contents back up, harming the more delicate tissue of the esophagus. You will notice a burning sensation in your chest.

The global prevalence of GERD was estimated to be between 15 and 25%. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, more than 60 million Americans suffer from heartburn and acid reflux symptoms at least once a month. 

In India, the prevalence of GERD ranges from 7.6% to 30%, with most population studies reporting a frequency of 10% and cohort studies reporting higher rates.

When GERD is not treated, it can lead to long-term complications. These include abdominal pain, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, esophageal injury, and a higher risk of esophageal cancer. Several risk factors for GERD explained by doctors include diet, hernia hiatus, medications, obesity, pregnancy, and smoking.

Alcohol, including wine, is one of the contributing variables for certain people. While wine does not cause heartburn in everyone, drinking wine can likely exacerbate GERD symptoms like heartburn in people.

The study titled “Alcohol Consumption and the Risk of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis” was published in the journal  Alcohol and alcoholism in January 2019. This study showed alcohol consumption, including wine, increases the risk of GERD.

Does Wine Cause Heartburn?

The research on this may not give you a simple “yes” or “no” response because the results of these researches are inconclusive. A study titled “Alcohol consumption associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease” published in the Journal of Zhejiang University in 2010 found that drinking red and white wine increases the amount of stomach acid.

Additionally, the research revealed that white wine causes more heartburn than red wine. Alcohol, including wine, relaxes muscles, especially those in the lower esophagus, and resting flat allows stomach acid to creep up your esophagus more easily. So most research back that wine can cause heartburn.  

Wine can aggravate heartburn, but it does not cause it in some people. Heartburn is caused by your body’s constitution, not by wine, but if you already have GERD, wine can worsen heartburn.

Is Wine Acidic?

On the pH scale, acids vary from 0-6, neutral is 7, basics are 8-14, and your wine is around 3.5, which makes it acidic.

Acids are necessary for wine and must be sensitively and expertly balanced to achieve the desired flavor. Grapes are acidic on the vine and gradually “mellow” as they ripen. Winemakers will endeavor to produce a delightful balance while fermenting these grapes, balancing sugars and the two acids found in wine: tartaric acid and malic acid.

The following are some of the reasons why wine might give you heartburn:

  • As wine is consumed with rich and ample food, the food may contribute to heartburn. 
  • The alcohol in wine can increase stomach acid production and make tissues more susceptible to acid. 
  • Alcohol relaxes the muscles around the stomach, making the stomach contents more prone to spill out into the esophagus.  
  • Smoking while drinking alcohol can increase the risk of heartburn. This is because smoke can increase stomach acid production and relax the muscles that connect the esophagus to the stomach.

Which Wine Has the Highest Acidity?

All wines are acidic, with the majority falling between 2.5 and 4.5 on the pH scale (7 is neutral). Wine’s acidic components are crucial in defining how the wine appears and tastes. There are many acids in wine, but tartaric acid, malic acid, and citric acid are the most common. 

The ripeness of the grapes used, the climate in which the grapes are cultivated, and how old the wine is are all factors that decide how acidic the wine is. In addition, some winemakers add acid to the wine to change the colors, aromas, and flavors. A wine with high acid will taste sharper, whilst with little acid will taste smoother and rounder on the palate. 

White wines are often high in acidity than red wines, with sweet white wines having the highest acidity. Red wine has a tartrate level of 0.6 to 0.8 percent, whereas white wine has a tartrate level of 0.7 to 0.9 percent.

Which Wine is Best for People Who Have Heartburn?

Because various people react differently to different wines, it’s impossible to predict which wines are least likely to create difficulties for heartburn patients. The type of wine that works for one person may be triggering heartburn in another. Finding wines that don’t bother you may take some trial and error, but wines with lower acidity are less likely to induce heartburn.

Choosing wines from warmer locations is an excellent place to start. Because there is less warmth and sunlight available to boost the sugar and pH levels, grapes produced in cooler climates tend to have more acidity. Older red wines are often mellower and low in acidity than younger red wines.


Heartburn can be worsened by wine but not caused by it. It is your body constitution that causes heartburn, not the wine. When sipping wine, eat something. Wine’s acids may aggravate an empty stomach, but pairing your favorite wine with healthy food will keep those acids occupied and help prevent heartburn. Avoid wine 2-3 hours before bedtime. If you still get heartburn despite your efforts, meet your health care expert.


Chen, S.-H., Wang, J.-W., & Li, Y.-M. (2010). Is alcohol consumption associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease? Journal of Zhejiang University. Science. B, 11(6), 423–428. https://doi.org/10.1631/jzus.B1000013

Does Red Wine help get rid of acid reflux? (n.d.). Pacific Rim and Company. Retrieved May 25, 2022, from https://www.pacificrimandco.com/blog/wine-and-acid-reflux

Gaffney, J. (2006, November 15). Wine & health: Drinking wine may not lead to heartburn. Wine Spectator. https://www.winespectator.com/articles/wine–health-drinking-wine-may-not-lead-to-heartburn-11719

Kaiser Permanente. (2009, March 7). Drinking wine lowers the risk of Barrett’s Esophagus, a precursor to the nation’s fastest-growing cancer, a study suggests. Science Daily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090302090133.htm

Pan, J., Cen, L., Chen, W., Yu, C., Li, Y., & Shen, Z. (2019). Alcohol consumption and the risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Alcohol and Alcoholism (Oxford, Oxfordshire), 54(1), 62–69. https://doi.org/10.1093/alcalc/agy063

Puckette, M. (n.d.). Understanding acidity in wine. Wine Folly. Retrieved May 25, 2022, from https://winefolly.com/deep-dive/understanding-acidity-in-wine/

Sirén, H., Sirén, K., & Sirén, J. (2015). Evaluation of organic and inorganic compounds levels of red wines processed from Pinot Noir grapes. Analytical Chemistry Research, 3, 26–36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ancr.2014.10.002

Snopek, L., Mlcek, J., Sochorova, L., Baron, M., Hlavacova, I., Jurikova, T., Kizek, R., Sedlackova, E., & Sochor, J. (2018). Contribution of Red Wine consumption to human health protection. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 23(7), 1684. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23071684

Sweis, R., & Fox, M. (2020). The global burden of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease: more than just heartburn and regurgitation. The Lancet. Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 5(6), 519–521. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-1253(20)30002-9

Leave a Comment