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Red wine's health benefits

Adapted from:

Heart Protection

Red wine's effect on heart disease, blood pressure, cholesterol and stroke.

Cancer Prevention

Red wine's effect on colon cancer, prostate cancer, melanoma and leukemia.

Resveratrol and Other Red Wine Antioxidants

One of the most studied antioxidants in red wine is resveratrol, a compound found in the seeds and skins of grapes. Red wine has a high concentration of resveratrol because the skins and seeds ferment in the grapes' juices during the red wine-making process. This prolonged contact during fermentation produces significant levels of resveratrol in the finished red wine. White wine also contains resveratrol, but the seeds and skins are removed early in the white wine-making process, reducing the concentration of the compound in the finished white wine.

Antioxidants, like resveratrol, are beneficial in preventing harmful elements in the body from attacking healthy cells. Found in red wine, peanuts, blueberries and cranberries, resveratrol is easily absorbed by the human body. The antioxidant properties of resveratrol also offer certain health benefits in the prevention of heart disease and the reduction of lung tissue inflammation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

The Phytoestrogen Effect

Resveratrol is also known as a phytoestrogen. In the 1940s scientists found that phytoestrogens are able to bind to estrogen receptors acting like the estrogen that is naturally produced in the body. Therefore, diets that include red wine may benefit certain conditions affected by a decrease in natural estrogen including menopause, breast cancer, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Moderate amounts of red wine, such as a glass per day, may provide enough resveratrol to protect against estrogen depletion in the body.

Other Antioxidants

Red wine also contains other antioxidants. Researchers are finding new ways to isolate these antioxidants and study their health benefits. One of these antioxidants, a flavanoid known as catechin, is abundant in red wine and green tea. Research indicates that, along with resveratrol, catechin plays an important role in reducing the risk of heart disease. Saponins, found in red wine, olive oil and soybeans, offer protective benefits for the heart and are easily absorbed by the body. Yet another antioxidant present in red wine, called guercetin, is being studied for its value in the prevention of lung cancer.

About Sulphur (from material provided by Avonmore)

Natural levels of sulphur found in wines are 17 ppm fixed sulphur and 33 ppm free; thus there is no such thing as sulphur-free wine. Avonmore adds another 10 ppm of free sulphur to make 60 ppm. When you air the bottle (or your glass), the free sulphur effervesces, leaving the fixed only. Non-organic wines have a minimum of 100 ppm, up to 300ppm. For scale, 17 ppm, what is left over after airing, is 50 meters on a direct walk from Melbourne to Darwin.

About Organic Wine (Adapted from

Modern agricultural practices, now called 'conventional' but only in use for the last fifty years, have stripped the minerals essential for healthy crops from the soil, necessitating the increasing use of artificial help to replace what has been lost. In addition to what artificial fertilizers strip from the soil, seventeen insecticides, fumigants, and herbicides are currently being used in conventional wine grape production.

Many consumers are not aware of the fact that grapes are one of the most heavily sprayed crops around, and that when pesticides are sprayed on the grape skins to protect them from pests and disease, they end up as residue in the wine (by being washed from the grapes as they are pressed or put in the vat). In addition to contact pesticides, there are also systemic pesticides which penetrate the plant and end up in the grape pulp, and inevitably as residue in the wine. A number of these chemicals are of great concern because they are suspected carcinogens.