5/14/2006

Wine and your Health



The GrapeVine noted the following regarding American wine consumption:

For the first time since 1976, Americans are expected to consume more red wine, than white according to the 2005 edition of the U.S. Wine Market: Impact Databank Review and Forecast.

I decided to write an article regarding this subject after leaving Total Wine last week. While sampling a few white varietals from Sonoma, a lady made the comment that she drinks a glass of white wine everyday for the health benefits and because it taste good. I thought to myself, what benefits, other than the great flavors and aromas we have come to expect and appreciate out of a delectable glass of white wine, would she be getting ?

When I hear about health benefits, linked to wine consumption in moderation, red wines always come to mind first. Not your Rose, Blush, or your more sensual, smooth and soft reds, but the big tannic bad boys, that are usually better accompanied with food. I am neither an expert on the subject, or in the health care field, but the benefits are all in the skins. The grape skins are what makes a red wine red, and the lack of, a white wine white.

American consumers who are readily gaining more wine knowledge than ever before are looking to the big reds, as the French, in hopes of long term health benefits as proven by studies and statistics over years.

So what does this Tannin thing have to do with it all ? Tannins are mainly present in grape skins and to a lesser extent in oak barrels. The skins impart the big tannic taste and are where the health benefits are derived. The skins contain phenolic substances and molecules, which studies have shown are associated with reduced levels of coronary heart disease. Tannins also have antioxidant properties that studies have shown to do the body good by fighting free radicals, increasing mental alertness, and improving cardiovascular health to name a few. You do see Grape Seed extract for sale in stores like G.N.C. right ? Remember, moderation and big reds are key here, too much alcohol can have adverse affects.

As always, keep tasting, trying and learning new things : )

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