Grappling with Grape Allergy: What You Need to Know

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Originally published on January 26, 2020. Updated and republished on September 29, 2023.

Have you been diagnosed with a grape allergy or grape sensitivity? 

Do you suspect that you are allergic to grapes? Have you noticed that you get symptoms after eating grapes, wine, or other related foods? 

Having adverse food reactions to grapes can be dangerous and sometimes hard to identify. 

In this article you’ll learn more about grapes, hidden sources of grapes and foods that are related to grapes which may trigger symptoms. We’ll also go over how to make better food choices and avoid related triggers.

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Grape Food Family

Grapes are part of the Vitaceae Food Family.

If you are allergic or sensitive to grapes, you may be allergic or sensitive to the following foods:

  • Grape Juice
  • Grape Leaves (Dolmades)
  • Raisins
  • Currants
  • Dried Currants
  • Wine
  • Red Wine Vinegar and other vinegars such as balsamic vinegar and white balsamic vinegar
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Grapeseed Oil  
  • Grape Flour

Grape Allergy

This condition is generally rare but cases have been documented.

Grape allergy is due to the immune system reacting after exposure to grapes.

Some research indicates that people with grape allergy actually have Lipid Transfer Protein (LTP) Allergy. People with this condition may have adverse reactions to many foods.

Symptoms

An allergic reaction happens when the immune system identifies a food as a harmful substance and releases antibodies to defend against it. The symptoms can vary from mild to severe and may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Atopic Dermatitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dizziness 
  • Eczema
  • Fainting
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Itching in the mouth
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Nasal congestion
  • Swelling of any body part
  • Swelling of the face
  • Swelling of the lips
  • Swelling of the tongue and throat
  • Tingling in the mouth
  • Trouble breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Wheezing    

Call your doctor immediately if you or your child have symptoms of an allergic reaction. Call 911 in case of difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, or other life-threatening symptoms. 

Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction. It can be caused by grapes allergy or other allergens. Reactions may be more severe if more than one part of the body is affected. 

Signs and Symptoms of Anaphylaxis include:

  • Angioedema
  • Cardiovascular symptoms
  • Constriction of the airway
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Fast pulse
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Sensation of a lump in the throat
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Shock, including a drastic drop in blood pressure
  • Swollen throat
  • Tightening of the airway

These reactions require immediate medical attention.

Managing Grape Allergy:

If you suspect that you have a pectin allergy, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis. They can help confirm the allergy and guide you in managing it effectively. 

Grape Sensitivity

Some people only experience an allergic reaction when consuming grapes or grape products listed above.

However, some people react to grapes, wine, and other fermented products due to other components of the foods due to food sensitivities and other intolerances.

Allergic reactions and other types of adverse food reactions may be triggered by fructose, histamine, FOCMAPS, lectins, yeast, pollen, tannins, pectin, salicylates, nitrites, and nitrates. (Grapes are generally low in histamine and FODMAPS but wine made from grapes may be high in both.)

Cross-Reactivity with Rosacea Food Family

It is suspected that those with grape allergies may also have allergic reactions to foods in the Rosacae Food Family.

Foods in the Rosacae (Rose) Food Family include:

  • Blackberry
  • Boysenberry
  • Dewberry
  • Loganberry
  • Longberry
  • Raspberry
  • Rosehip
  • Strawberry
  • Youngberry

Due to the specific proteins found in grapes, people with grape allergy may react to many foods. Reactions may vary widely or not occur at all. Working with a professional is sometimes needed to identify triggers and safe foods.

Cross Reactivity & Oral Allergy Syndrome 

Grape Allergy may be cross-reactive with the following foods:

  • Asparagus
  • Beer
  • Cabbage
  • Celery (Not to worry! Even though this is a really common ingredient, there many ways substitute for celery.)
  • Cherry
  • Chestnut
  • Cucumber
  • Date
  • Eggplant
  • Fennel
  • Fig
  • Kiwi
  • Lettuce
  • Lupin
  • Maize
  • Mellon
  • Mulberry
  • Mustard
  • Orange
  • Peanuts
  • Pineapple
  • Tomato
  • Tree Nuts

People with grape allergy may be susceptible to vine pollen so olives and olive oil may be a potential trigger. Similarly, people who are regularly exposed to vineyards may develop grape allergy.

Grapes contain profilin, which is associated with Celery Mugwort Spice Syndrome and Oral Allergy Syndrome.

This purple fruit also contains Chitinase-like Protein which is associated with Latex Food Syndrome.

Adverse reactions may also be related to the presence of Thaumatin-like Protein.

Hidden Sources Of Grapes

Be on the lookout for grapes in the following foods, especially in foods that contain raisins which are dried grapes:

  • Baked Goods
  • Breads like Sourdough that start with a fermentation process.
  • Candy
  • Cereals
  • Dried Fruits
  • Fermented Foods
  • Flavored Water
  • Fruit Bars
  • Fruit Preserves
  • Granola
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Juices and juice blends
  • Raisins
  • Smoothies made with juice or natural sweeteners
  • Trail Mix
  • Vinegar
  • Wine

Alternatives to Grapes

If you are looking for foods to substitute for grapes, try to think about what the grape is used for in the recipe. Grapes contribute color, sweetness, texture, and acidity to many dishes.

Here is a quick guide to help identify alternatives to grapes and grape products.

Check out the Single Ingredient Groceries online store to find high quality ingredients.

Fresh Grapes – For an alternative to Fresh Grapes, consider one of the following:

  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Blueberry
  • Fresh Cranberry
  • Grapefruit
  • Mango
  • Orange
  • Papaya
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Plum

Grape Juice – For an alternative to Grape Juice, consider one of the following:

We recommend 100% organic juice made from a single fruit in order to reduce the chances of hidden ingredients such as other fruit juices, sweeteners, preservatives and pesticides. 

  • Apple Juice
  • Blueberry Juice
  • Cranberry Juice (Not Cranberry Juice Cocktail)
  • Grapefruit Juice
  • Mango Juice
  • Orange Juice
  • Papaya Juice

Grape Leaves (Dolmades) – For an alternative to Grape Leaves, consider one of the following:

  • Collard Greens
  • Kale Leaves
  • Turnip Greens
Red grapes with green grape leaves.

Raisins & Currants – For an alternative to Raisins and Currants, consider one or more of the following:

  • Craisins / Dried Cranberries (Be sure to read labels carefully. Some contain added sugars, are sweetened or flavored with other juices, or come in bags lined with vegetable oils.)
  • Dried Apple
  • Dried Apricot
  • Dried Mango
  • Dried Papaya
Fresh red grapes in a wooden bowl on a wooden platter with white cloth.

Wine – For alternatives to wine, consider one or more of the following:

  • Hard Cider (alcoholic)
  • Lemon Juice (if being used in cooking to provide acid.)
  • Liquor made from grains (tolerance will vary based on several factors such as alcohol tolerance, histamine tolerance, and ingredients in the liquor).
  • Sparkling Apple Cider (non alcoholic)
  • White Vinegar (if being used in cooking to provide acid.)
Closeup of grapejuice with bubbles.

Red Wine Vinegar – For alternatives to Red Wine Vinegar, consider one or more of the following:

  • Lemon Juice
  • Lime Juice
  • White Vinegar
Oil and Vinegar in bottles next to a salad.

Cream of Tartar – For alternatives to Cream of Tartar, consider one or more of the following:

  • Baking Powder
  • Buttermilk
  • Lemon Juice
  • White Vinegar
  • Yogurt
Sliced lemons and whole lemons on white background. Header for Single Ingredient Groceries.

Grape Seed Oil – For alternatives to Grape Seed Oil, consider one or more of the following:

  • Avocado Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Butter
  • Flax Oil
  • Lard 
  • Peanut Oil
  • Soy Bean Oil
  • Tallow
  • Peanut Oil
corn on the cob and corn oil in a clear bottle on a wooden background

Help For Grape Allergy & Grape Sensitivity

Grape allergy is overall a rare condition and identifying trigger foods may be challenging.

We recommend working with an Allergist, Registered Dietitian or Certified Leap Therapist to identify which foods are safest for you and which foods you should avoid.

Final Thoughts

Choosing groceries when you have food allergies can be challenging. This is why we recommend choosing groceries made with a single ingredient and focusing on what you CAN eat, not just what you have to avoid. 

Do you like what you read? Sign up for the Single Ingredient Groceries email newsletter. 

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Authors

  • Dr. Lisa Hugh DHA MSHS RD LDN CLT

    Dr. Lisa Hugh is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Leap Therapist. She is a Doctor of Healthcare Administration and has a Master's of Science in Healthcare Administration. As a Food Sensitivity Expert, her passion is helping people with complex medical and nutrition needs find food and groceries that are safe and enjoyable. Lisa enjoys helping clients in her private practice.

    View all posts
  • Kristen Rohrer DHSc. CNS LDN

    Kristen Rohrer has a doctorate degree in Health Sciences. She is a Certified Nutrition Specialist, a Licensed Dietitian and Physician Assistant. Her specialties are pediatric nutrition, women's health, nutrition as preventative medicine.

    View all posts

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32 thoughts on “Grappling with Grape Allergy: What You Need to Know”

  1. I have been allergic to red and Concord grapes since I was @15 years old. After drinking Welch’s grape juice I went into anaphylactic shock. I’m also allergic to some nuts such as walnuts and recently a slight reaction from pecans. I have no sensitivity to green grapes or white win. Is it safe to drink rose wine?

    Reply
  2. I’m allergic to grapes so i don’t eat them, i check labels whenever i buy juice. I no longer knowingly eat raisens. White wine is ok to drink, but I stay away from red wine. Yesterday morning I awoke with the right earlobe swollen and red, the surrounding areas were covered in a rash. I took an over the counter allergy medication and it helped, my neck is sensitive and itchy and the hives are moving to the left side with both eye lides rashed. I’m still trying to figure out what caused the outbreak. I did try a handful of Cape Gooseberries the day before i broke out with the itching, rash and hives. Could the gooseberries be related to grapes?

    Reply
  3. My 7 yr old daughter since she started eating solids has gotten stomach pain, nausea, vomitting, and diarrhea from grapes and anything with natural grape flavoring. Only with the grape though. She has no allergies otherwise.

    Reply
  4. So this happened to me last night. I knew I was allergic to red grapes, was fine with green grapes till now. I ate some green grapes last night. Woke up with swollen lips and hives all over. I was ok with green grapes before this but but the red would make me sneeze and itch. Now it’s the green ones too. It’s seems that I’m eliminating a certain food every month. ughh!

    Reply
  5. When i tell people I’m allergic to grapes, they generally dont believe me. I’m allergic to peanuts and tree nuts as well.

    Reply
  6. Beware of Grape Juice Concentrate which pops up in the ingredients of many prepared meals.
    I’ve just come out in hives and the only thing different in my diet last night was a Coles lamb shanks in red wine. I use red wine in cooking without any trouble so went searching the ingredients listed on the packet and found the grape juice concentrate to be the culprit. I had had a severe case of hives previously (and so had my son) from drinking a non alcoholic wine made with red grape juice concentrate. We were the only ones at the table drinking this “wine” so it was easy to isolate the cause.

    Reply
  7. I do get itching and hives whenever I eat grapes, raisins and blueberries. Itching tends to start from plam, head and gets aggravated every corner of body. Got to treat cetrizine if I consume them.mistakely. Nice article, thanks for bringing in attention.

    Reply
  8. Can you be allergic to grapes yet still be okay to drink wine if the allergy is mild? Or is it possible to be allergic to only white grapes and fine with red?

    Reply
    • When it comes to adverse food reactions, lots of things are possible. So, it may be possible to be allergic to one but not the other. However, it is also very possible to be allergic to both and to have an allergic reaction to wine, even if the allergy is mild. There is also a risk of getting worse allergic reactions the more times you have an exposure. This sounds like a better safe than sorry situation. The good thing is there are lots of alternatives to wine. Can you think of any that would work for you?

      Reply
  9. I recently did a food sensitivity test and grapes came back as high on the list. I don’t notice a reaction from raw grapes, but I get flush from most wines. It’s usually the first half of a glass I’ll get hot, red and blotchy but it eventually goes away by the 2nd glass. Some of the other foods like celery, pineapple and banana also came back as sensitive to. I am working with a functional medicine doctor, but also trying to make sense of this all for myself as well.

    Reply
    • You might have more than one reaction happening when you drink wine, such as reacting to grapes in the wine and reacting to other food chemicals at the same time. You might be more comfortable and safer choosing beverage that is not grape based.

      Reply
  10. I just came to add my experience. For at least 20 years, I would get horrible stomach pain any time I ate grapes, drank grape juice or wine, or anything that had grapes or raisins in it. I took me many years before I realized the grapes were the culprit. It was an agonizing burning pain in the pit of my stomach and I thought I had ulcers for a while until I figured out every time it happened I had consumed something related to grapes. No other food caused this pain. Then last year I started having that same pain that I have only ever felt with grapes although I hadn’t consumed any!! After about a week of the pain not going away I went to the ER and had to have emergency surgery to remove my gall bladder. I took a chance on grapes again now that the gall bladder is gone and magically I don’t get those pains any more. So to me, that means all these years the grapes that were probably causing A gall bladder attack!! I can’t find ANY info online that says grapes can irritate your gallbladder so I don’t know why that is. But this may be helpful to those of you who are having the same symptoms. Maybe have your gall Bladder checked

    Reply
  11. I’ve noticed that my lips are chapped and puffy and cracked at the corners. Admittedly I love grapes and eat them a lot. Can these symptoms be caused by grapes (green and red)?

    Reply
    • Hi Marsha! It’s possible, but lips cracked at the corners could also be nutrition deficiencies. I’d start with a visit to your primary care provider to get an assessment, especially if you can’t easily identify grapes or any other food as an immediate trigger.

      Reply

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