Wine is relaxing, it enlarges our social and culinary experience and has been enjoyed since the earliest rice and grape fermented drink was found in China (c. 7000 BC), in Georgia from 6000 BC, in Iran from 5000 BC, and in Sicily from 4000 BC. Wine brightens a meal, increases digestion and has health benefits. Here are things to consider when buying the healthiest wines.
- Price is not the best guide when buying wines.
Fine wines can range between $10 – $20 per bottle. The most expensive wines are not necessarily the best.
- Taste and quality of wines depend upon the terrain
That’s the soil in which they are grown, the weather, especially the amount of sunshine and rain during the growing year. A dry year and higher altitude work better for wine quality. A wet year with high humidity or lots of rain affects the taste. A bright, clear wine requires even temperatures and lots of sunshine. A low quality wine produced during a damp year may add more sugar for flavor.
- Rainy and damp weather requires pesticides during growing season.
Pesticides and Pollutants: Dryer areas of Argentina, Italy and California are recommended terrain. Humidity in Bordeau and Champagne require more pesticides. Which wines have the least pesticides? Looking at the regions with the most selections tested, Côtes du Rhône had the lowest percentage of more than five pesticides, and the lowest percentage of wines with total measured pesticides. (Apr 15, 2015)
- Buy Organic wines.
They are the safest for your health. A wine label does not list ingredients, only the % percent of alcohol. Poor wines add sugar and chemicals to affect the taste. Sadly, the amount of pesticides sprayed on vines has grown 26-fold in the last 50 years. Grapes now have among the highest doses of synthetic pesticides of any crop.
- Lower alcohol around 13% – 14% is better
Alcohol is poison for heart patients. Low alcohol wines include German Kabinett Riesling (at 8% ABV) and Italian Moscato d’Asti (at 5.5% ABV) are typical examples of light-alcohol wines. The reason why these wines tend to be sweet is from the leftover grape sugar in the wine after the desired alcohol-level is reached.
- Some of the best wines are a mixture of mountain and lower altitude grapes.
It does not have to be French or California to be a high quality wine. Fine wines comes from northern Italy, Spain, Australia, South Africa, Argentina.
- No need to guess the taste or buy a wine because of the pretty bottle.
A yearly “cheat sheet” is published by experts for Wine Magazine online to inform us of the best quality vintage, i.e., best years to buy from around the world. https://www.winemag.com/2020/02/21/best-wine-vintages-2020/
- High resveratrol in red and white wine is considered healthy:
Good for blood vessels, heart and prevention of heart issues. Other food sources are peanuts, pistachios, grapes, blueberries, cranberries, cocoa and dark chocolate. The plants from these foods make resveratrol to fight fungal infection, ultraviolet radiation, stress, and injury.
- All wines, vinegars and most fermented foods naturally contain sulfites.
One source I found suggested that adding 1 drop of Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide to a glass of wine neutralizes the sulfites. Or you might add a drop to the water you use to make coffee or tea after dinner.
- Avoid chemical additives.
Additives are used to change flavors, add coloring, increase sweetness, and a whole lot more. The FDA approves 76 different additives for use in wine-making! Here are some of those additives we’re drinking in wine:
- Grape juice concentrate
- Tartaric acid
- Oak “essence” or oak chips (oak barrels are expensive)
- Colorings like Mega Purple and Ultra Red
- Commercial yeast
- Albumen (egg white)
- Ammonium phosphate
- Ascorbic acid
- Defoaming agents (polyoxyethylene 40 monostearate, silicon dioxide, dimethylpoly-siloxane, sorbitan monostearate, glyceryl mono-oleate and glyceryl dioleate)
- Granular cork
- Milk products (pasteurized whole, skim, or half-and-half)
- Soy flour
- … and a lot more!
38 of those 76 additives are only considered GRAS, or Generally Recognized As Safe
- Which wines are considered the most and least healthy?
There will be some disagreements, but in general organic dry red wines are considered healthiest. According to The Daily Meal, Pinot Noir has a higher resveratrol concentration than any other red wine. (Sep 14, 2018) Resveratrol, an antioxidant compound, has been shown to improve heart health by lowering bad cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. Some studies have also suggested it can improve brain health and insulin sensitivity, which can boost lifespan. However, other dry reds, such as merlot or cabernet, can be enjoyed as well. They have high levels of resveratrol, which may keep the heart healthy. Plus, they are drier taste more astringent (they give a bite on the tongue) so have lower amounts of sugar than other wines.
- Studies suggest that drinking red wine can help slow age-related cognitive decline.
This may partly be due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity of resveratrol. It seems to interfere with protein fragments, beta-amyloids, which are crucial to forming the plaques that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, the compound may set off a chain of events that protects brain cells from damage.
- Here are a few benefits resveratrol may have for people with diabetes:
- May protect against oxidative stress: Its antioxidant action may help protect against oxidative stress, which causes some of the complications of diabetes.
- Helps decrease inflammation: Resveratrol is thought to lessen inflammation, a key contributor to chronic diseases, including diabetes.
- Activates AMPK: This is a protein that helps the body metabolize glucose. Activated AMPK helps keep blood sugar levels low.
Resveratrol may even provide more benefits for people with diabetes than those who don’t have it.
- Resveratrol may help relieve joint pain by preventing cartilage from breaking down. Resveratrol may combat cancer cells:
- It may inhibit cancer cell growth: It may prevent cancer cells from replicating and spreading.
- Resveratrol may change gene expression: It can change the gene expression in cancer cells to inhibit their growth.
- It can have hormonal effects: Resveratrol may interfere with the way certain hormones are expressed which may keep hormone-dependent cancers from spreading.
However, since the studies so far have been carried out in test tubes and animals, more research is needed to see if and how this compound might be used for human cancer therapy.
- Wine may be beneficial for skin health:
Packed with antioxidants like flavonoid, resveratrol, and tannin, it protects the skin from aging by restoring collagen and elastic fibers. The polyphenols in red wine can help to brighten a dull complexion and the aminoacid in red wine refreshes the skin and give it a healthy glow.
- Helps fight skin ageing: Red wine may just help you age better. The presence of antioxidants like flavonoid, resveratrol and tannins fight skin ageing by restoring collagen and elastic fibers,. It helps us catch some beauty sleep: Red wine may also help you sleep better, due to the presence of melatonin, the hormone which regulates our sleep cycles.
- Improves complexion: Red wine may also help you get an even skin tone and regain that elusive glow on your face, which often gets lost due to excessive stress and pollution.
- Fights acne: Red wine also has antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties and can help fight acne breakouts. Applying red wine topically on your face can clear pores and hence, prevent acne. Who would have thought?
The only thing required to be printed on a wine label is the alcohol percentage and that’s not required to be accurate. By law, the actual alcohol percentage % in a bottle of wine can be 1-1.5% greater than or less than what’s stated on the bottle. We demand transparency in our food, so we should demand transparency in our wine. When you find wines made in a natural way, without manipulation of the land, vines, grapes, or juice, you remove the negative side effects typically associated with drinking wine. That means no hangovers, headaches, rashes, stomach aches, or any of the usual symptoms.
Where is the expiration date on wine? Check the Vintage Year. If there’s no expiration date, the vintage date is the next best thing. This is the year on the wine label and lets you know what year the grapes were harvested for that particular bottle. If you have this date handy, you can estimate the expiration date easily.
Typical shelf life Unopened Wine:
Unopened White wine: 1–2 years past the printed expiration date. Red wine: 2–3 years past the printed expiration date. Cooking wine: 3–5 years past the printed expiration date. Fine wine: 10–20 years, stored properly in a wine cellar.
Once un-corking and opening reds should be used within 1-2 weeks and whites should be used within 3 days. That’s typically how long the flavor lasts after opening before it begins to taste sour or “vinegary”. Be sure to bring red wine to room temperature for best quality before drinking
Do you have a favorite wine? The AcademyHealingNutrition program features a broad range of foods and natural health practices aimed to enhance nutrition and longevity. Registration for online and class room training is now Open.