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Drinking Wine is Better Than Going to the Gym, According to Scientists
Red Wine Makes You Thin!??
Cheers to our HEALTH! Really. "Champagne" [sparkling wines] are good for you
Bex, BX Bubbles, Champagne, Prosseco ... and the town of Prošek
Low-Cal Cocktails (Even Tho Wine is Healthiest)


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Wine Health with Bex Bishop, Winemaker at BX of Napa

Drinking Wine is Better Than Going to the Gym, According to Scientists

Well I was going to work out but then I thought I'd do myself a favor and poured myself a glass of BX of Napa Wine instead. The scientists told me too!
What great news is this?? Thanks University of Alberta, Canada!
What they are referring to is the presence of RESVERATROL improving heart, muscle & bone functions; as well as ANTIOXIDANTS which improve cholesterol, heart health & blood flow.
They mention wine cutting risks of cataracts, colon cancer and Type 2 Diabetes.
But let's be serious - we know the gym provides benefits too, so let's compromise... Pour yourself a nice glass of wine and take a walk on the treadmill. Work those biceps everytime you take a sip. Be sure to pour a big glass for extra weight.

Red Wine Makes You Thin!??

By Martha Edwards on HealthGuideHQ.com
I'm starting a new diet. I need to fit into that dress for my reunion next month so I'm gonna go to the gym. Nah, I'll drink some wine instead.
Wouldn't that be a nice alternative? Well, I don't think it solves the weight problem on its own, but according to new research, it does help! Drink [wine] up America, let's reduce that obesity rate.   
                                      ...thoughts by Bex Bishop
Drinking and dieting: Can these two elements exist in harmony? Nobody wants a beer belly, and coolers and cocktails are just too full of sugar to be waistline-friendly. That’s why wine tends to be the drink of choice for those watching their waistline. But is this reputation justified?
It seems it is, at least in the case of red wine. Recent studies done at the University of Ulm in Germany have found that ...

Cheers to our HEALTH! Really. "Champagne" [sparkling wines] are good for you

BX BUBBLES Blanc de Noirs Brut contains pinot noir black wine grapes which were essential ingredients to the results of the study. Make sure you don't mistake any bottle of fizz for the proper stuff, but seek the pinot noir components of bubbles.

I love it when good news comes from new research. So let's celebrate! No, really, I mean the research says it's healthy to pop the cork on that Blanc de Noirs, regularly, and celebrate. The newest buzz is a study about SPARKLING WINE - shortened in our English vernacular slang to CHAMPAGNE (one word is better than two?) which in actuality only applies to sparkling wines from the Champagne region of France. But the point of this study's finds relates to all BUBBLES (my one word answer to sparkling wines of the world) that contain black wine grapes such as pinot noir. 

So what's the news on it? That's it actually HEALTHY to have ... 3 glasses of bubbles a week, even better than none! Now we can truly say CHEERS TO OUR HEALTH over that gorgeous flickering tulip flute.

Here are a few articles on this topic. Two points to keep in mind:

  • The research points to bubbles made from black grapes so look for bottles labeled "Blanc de Noirs" which means pinot noir grapes went into it (though not necessarily 100%). SHAMELESS PLUG: BX BUBBLES ARE BLANC DE NOIRS!
  • This study was conducted on lab rats (lucky rats!)


by Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online

Researchers from Reading University have found that three glasses of champagne per week could help prevent the onset of brain disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The team discovered that a compound found in black wine grapes (Pinot noir and Pinot meunier) help fight forgetfulness.

Champagne, which is made using these types of grapes, could now be just the right beverage for tackling dementia before it has a chance to set in. This is not the first time the bubbly has been touted for its health benefits. The same Reading team found in 2009 that champagne is good for the heart and blood circulation.

The memory-helping compound in champagne, however, is much different: phenolic acid. About 80 percent of all champagne is made from the two black grape varieties blended together with a white Chardonnay grape. The researchers, led by Jimmy Spencer, a biochemistry professor at Reading, found that phenolic acid provokes a noticeable boost to spatial memory, allowing the ability to recognize surroundings and help people find their way home.


By Victoria Ward for The Telegraph UK

Prof Spencer told the Mail on Sunday: "The results were dramatic. After rats consumed champagne regularly, there was a 200 per cent increase of proteins important for determining effective memory. This occurred in rats after just six weeks. We think it would take about three years in humans.

The study showed three glasses of sparkling wine a day improved memory and could theoretically hinder brain disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Further study is required (we call dibs), but it appears the compound found in the black grapes (pinot noir and pinot meunier) used for these wines are the key. These are the same saintly, Nobel Prize-deserving researchers who discovered champagne has similar heart benefits to cocoa (read: chocolate) and red wine. How do you say "happiest lab on Earth" in Swedish?

Cheers! Now *POP* that bottle of BX Bubbles Blanc de Noirs!

Bex, BX Bubbles, Champagne, Prosseco ... and the town of Prošek

Another article hitting home... this one about wine law.

I am intimately familiar with trademark law and wine. I have my own story on why I am no longer my 8 year company name of "Bex of Napa" but now I am reduced to a company without an "e" and go by "BX of Napa". But that's a longer story and not one that is the result of an international agreement but rather a personal one with a big wine company that went back on their word. But I digress... 

However, many Americans have somewhere along the way heard about how we can't call our sparkling wines "champagne" anymore. To be called "Champagne" a sparkling wine must be MADE IN AND FROM the French region of Champagne. Americans should not take national offense, because even the next door region to Champagne, the famed Burgundy (or Bourgogne) is not allowed to call their bubbles Champagne, either. Burgundians and other French regions have instead used a differentiated naming device: "Cremant" even though the exact same methods and neighboring grapes are used. [Note my sparkling wine is "BX Bubbles" because I found "sparkling wine" rather dull and uninspiring.]

You can learn more about Champagne and regulations here. Champagne is regulated better than a stock exchange! I spent some fascinating time with them in Champagne learning the history, regulations and governing bodies -- and that merely scratched the surface. Highly complex!

An international agreement was reached that alcoholic beverages named after a geographic region that invented/inspired/created/is known for them, shall be limited to those single regions, hereto forward. Another example of regional/geographical international naming protection is a favored dessert wine we refer to as "Port". Yes, originally developed in Portugal, but a beverage term all dessert wine lovers know, now -- any other region in the world using those same techniques to produce similarly tasting wines can only use terms like "Port-styled" dessert wine, rather that "Port". 

Cognac is the most famous of brandies, but also a region in France that claims to grow the highest quality grapes for these purposes (brandy is distilled grapes or fruit juice) -- and thus, other regions may allude to Cognac - whose spirits have wider global familiarity like Champagne -- but can only be called brandy.

All this to say, it is not surprising that a town, while geographical, is unfortunate enough to have a name to similar to an another beverage type, is not allowed to use their own name. Cuz, I'm Bex Bishop, but someone else owns my name - so you can just call me BX for short.

The sad truth is that Croatia, like Bex Bishop, doesn't carry the political [read monetary] clout of the larger entities that want their own ideas protected. You have my empathy Croatia.

What’s in a Name: Prošek v. Prosecco
The Story of Prošek Wine and Croatia’s Membership in the EU


An article covering perhaps my favorite topic (intellectual property) in wine law emerged this last week. Unfortunately, or fortunately for On Reserve, the topic did not receive much attention amid major wine publications, but its content does not fail to intrigue at all (at least, not in my opinion). With Croatia’s accession to the European Union scheduled to occur this July, requirements such as the EU’s strict appellation rules must be followed by the joining country. 

Unfortunately—from the perspective of many Croatian winemakers—the beloved wine called Prošek will ceased to be bottled as such starting July 1, 2013. (See EU Prošek Ban Angers Croatian Winemakers – “Vino Dalmato” Replacement Term?) In March, “the [Croatian] agriculture ministry suddenly announced the traditional sweet dessert wine known as Prošek could no longer be sold under its name.” (Croatian Winemakers Upset by EU Label Rules.) Accordingly, in its negotiations, the EU claimed that the Croatian wine named Prošek is too similar to the name of to the effervescent Prosecco produced in Italy’s Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia wine regions. 

Prosecco currently enjoys legal protection under EU rules that govern other wines like Champagne and Port. The battle against Prošek draws a strong correlation to those endless crusades dueled by many Champagne producers: the demand for truth in labeling and place of origin.

While the names of the wines Prošek and Prosecco may linguistically be similar, the onset between these two wines is quite different from those fought by Champagne. Most, if not all, of the Champagne region’s battles seek to discontinue the use of the term “Champagne” on wine products that do not originate from the region. Most significantly, these wines are usually sparkling wines produced outside of Champagne, France and use the term “Champagne” to describe the style of the wine (or, in some cases, to feed off of the name Champagne and the region’s well-established wine products). Similar notions are seen for dessert wines like Port and Sherry. 

However, what is quite different in Prošek v. Prosecco is the fact that Prošek is actually a sweet dessert wine produced for centuries in Dalmatia and is not an effervescent wine, like Prosecco. (See EU madness hits Croatia: No More Prošek From July 1.) The two wines are also produced by exceptionally different methods, Prošek through the passito method and composed typically of grapes native to Croatia and Prosecco through the Charmat method (which requires a second fermentation).

Croatia filed an application to protect the term Prošek, but the European Commission requested that the Ministry withdraw said request. Not much is known about the EC’s request or why Croatia’s Ministry of Agriculture failed to explain the EC’s request to Croatian winemakers timely. “Unless Croatia manages to prove the difference and get the ban lifted, the local producers will have to change its name . . . .” (Croatian Winemakers Upset by EU Label Rules.) Unfortunately for Croatia, “[o]nly a few weeks later, Slovenia said Croatia had no right to produce and market teran, a red wine made in the northern tip of the Adriatic, shared by Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.” (Id.)  

Low-Cal Cocktails (Even Tho Wine is Healthiest)

OK, so we've validated that wine has health benefits, and that it's for the most part, the healthiest alcoholic beverage choice. However, I admit, there are times you want to explore some other options. Summer time, pool time, outdoor patios are perfect for wine but might lack that mint sprig or pretty umbrella you need to give you that mental feeling of "relaxation time". But the problem is that hard liquor drinks carry so many more calories, in their liquor content and most auspiciously in the cocktail cohorts making up those frilly flavors. So here is a list of cocktails, departing from the obvious choice ofwine being naturally lower in calories, that provide alternative dressings for lower calorie concoctions...

Watermelon Mojito: 100 Calories
A whole day of eating right can go down in the swirl of cocktail -- with crazy-high calories and weakened willpower. So we've put a few drinks on a diet, starting with the Cuban mojito. Instead of using sugar, use a wooden pestle or a big spoon to gently crush cubes of watermelon with fresh mint leaves. Add rum and sparkling water for a sweet mojito with half the usual calories.

Skinny Piña Colada: 229 Calories

Rum that's infused with a coconut flavor can cut about 300 calories from a piña colada. What's out? The sugary, coconut milk mix. Measure one shot of coconut rum. Then add fresh strawberries, a splash of agave syrup, and blend with ice. You get a tall, 12-ounce tropical cocktail for about the same calories as in a handful of pretzel twists.

Shochu Cosmo: 70 Calories

Make a super-slim cosmopolitan by replacing the vodka with shochu, a Japanese spirit with a smooth flavor. A 2-ounce serving has only about 35 calories. Add splashes of diet cranberry juice, fresh lime juice, and orange juice, and then toss in a martini shaker. This cosmo shakes out at half the calories of a traditional cosmopolitan.

Skinny Vodka Iced Tea: 80 Calories

The mix of lemonade and sweet iced tea, favored by golfer Arnold Palmer, becomes a popular cocktail when you add a shot of vodka. You can slice off half the calories in this tall, cool drink by using low-calorie lemonade and sweet-tea-flavored vodka. This specialty vodka is lower in calories than traditional types.

Slim Berry Daiquiri: 145 Calories

Simple, unadorned berries can help slim down a strawberry daiquiri. Start with 1 cup of no-sugar-added berries, either fresh or frozen. You get intense berry flavor for just 50 calories, compared with 255 calories in berries frozen with syrup. Add rum, ice, and sweeten the deal with 1 teaspoon of stevia, a sugar substitute. Blend into a slim and delicious frozen concoction.

Find more cocktails and the full slide show here:

Winey Whiners About Wine Health Claims

This one is personal! People are mad that scientists focus on the health benefits of wine, as  lopsided representation if in a conference. I am pretty sure that the bad effects of alcohol have been communicated to all living members of the public. It's no secret. That's alcohol. But what this article misses is the concept of differentiation of the health qualities in wine VERSUS other alcohols which have less or no positive effects. Nobody is suggesting we give up our meals and drink wine all day... as enticing as that may sound on occasion. It's known and repeated that moderation is key.

But the point of my blog and this conference I can only assume is to explore the glorious facets of this beautiful little fermented fruit juice and the fact that it does offer health benefits alongside its joyous accompaniment to our time with friends and loved ones. We're not calling it medicine, though if it were, it would be the most delicious one around! But if you go out to dinner and consider a gin martini appertif versus wine - you'll do your body more justice with the wine, if not  your taste buds too. If you are one to have a daily drink at the end of the work day, they say having a glass of wine versus beer or none at all is the healthiest choice.

Sharing the health benefits and research of scientists as related to wine is to me, a great public service. If we can move someone from hard liquor to fine wine, that's better for their health, both emotionally and physically. It's not just about the beverage choice, but the environment that corresponds and follows one's beverage choice. Wine in general sports a healthier and more moderated atmosphere than one filled with hard liquor. And if it is filled with beer, it is also likely filled with beer bellies.

And just like saying what you feel is an important part of life, so is a glass or two of wine per day, and both should be well crafted and in moderation.

Distaste arises on wine health claims

Public health experts have branded a ''wine health'' conference a misleading industry attempt to influence government policy by presenting one-sided evidence on wine's health benefits. Run by the Australian Wine Research Institute, a body which ''supports grape and wine producers'', the July conference in Sydney will host world experts for ''stimulating exchange of scientific information'' on the health impacts of drinking wine.

Professor Mike Daube, director of the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth, said he was concerned that evidence of the negative health effects of drinking would not be presented at the conference. ''At a time when there is so much concern about problems caused by alcohol, here we have a group that by promoting the message that wine is healthy is trying to influence the public policy debate. Nobody should see this as objective science. It's all pretty shonky,'' Professor Daube said.

''The National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines are clear that any health benefits of wine have probably been overestimated, are mainly related to middle-aged or older people, only occur at levels of around half a drink a day anyway, and that people should not be encouraged to drink for health benefits.

''Conference chair Creina Stockley, from the Australian Wine Research Institute, described the criticism of the event as ''nonsense''. She said speakers would not be paid for their appearance, they were all scientists, and that research on positive and negative health effects of wine consumption would be discussed...

Brian Vandenberg, senior policy adviser at Cancer Council Victoria, said the event reflected ''panic'' in the wine industry. ''They're getting desperate as consumers become more aware of the risks of alcohol so they're making more claims about the health benefits,'' he said.''We saw that with low-carb beers. When health groups pointed out that they're just as fattening as regular beer, sales dropped pretty massively.

''Alcohol is packed with kilojoules, it leads to weight gain and it's linked to many cancers, so a conference about the health benefits of wine is about as credible as a conference about the health benefits of smoking or saturated fat...

Wine or your waistline? 3 rules to follow

They say you can't get blitzed on margaritas and then dive into a bowl of ice cream? I have friends that would beg to differ but the point remains that drinking alcohol can have many positive and negatives -- for your weight, depending on how it's "administered". Find some tips here. Some highlights include:

  • Drinking presses pause on your metabolism
  • Alcohol decreases fat burn in the belly (a-ha! that explains it!)
  • Always eat with or before drinking
  • Wine and drinks without sugar fair better with less calories and less cravings
  • Beware the morning after cravings and fill yourself with water


(CNN) -- Let's face it, sometimes there's nothing better at the end of a long day than a glass of wine.But sipping much more than that can wreak havoc with your shape, and not just by adding hundreds of calories to your diet. Alcohol temporarily keeps your body from burning fat, explains integrative medicine specialist Dr. Pamela M. Peeke, author of the book "The Hunger Fix. 

"The reason is that your body can't store calories from alcohol for later, the way it does with food calories. So when you drink, your metabolic system must stop what it's doing (like, say, burning off calories from your last meal) to get rid of the booze.

"Drinking presses 'pause' on your metabolism, shoves away the other calories, and says, 'Break me down first!'" Peeke explains. The result is that whatever you recently ate gets stored as fat.What's worse: "Research has uncovered that alcohol especially decreases fat burn in the belly," Peeke adds. "That's why you never hear about 'beer hips' -- you hear about a 'beer belly.'"

Long-term studies published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and International Journal of Obesity found that middle-aged and older women who drank moderately (about one drink a day) gained less weight over time than those who never imbibed at all; they were also less likely to become obese.

What else beyond basic exercise and calorie-counting can keep happy hour from turning into hefty hour? Health magazine dug into the research and grilled the experts on how you can have your sips and jeans that still zip.

Rule #1: Always eat when you drink
While the Harvard research suggests it's wise to factor in those cocktail calories, it's actually more important to eat right than to eat less, the experts stress. Skimping on food in order to "make room" for drinks will only backfire and send you straight to the bottom of the candied nut bowl.
Rule #2: Know that some drinks make you hungrier
When it comes to waist-friendly cocktails, the simpler the drink, the better. Not only do the sweet-and-fancy ones tend to have more calories, but the additional sugar can make you even hungrier: Your blood sugar skyrockets higher than it does on beer, wine, or a shot of something, making the plummet (and the resulting cravings) worse.
Rule #3: Stick to a drink or two, tops
One drink a day is the widely accepted definition of moderate drinking for women, but there's a misconception among some bar-hoppers that you can go without alcohol all week and save your seven drinks for the weekend."That's the worst thing you can possibly do for your weight," Peeke says. (And, of course, for your health.) "It has a much bigger effect than one drink a day."

Recycled Grape Guts Go Green

I wanted to make "chardonnay shots" out of the wine slime that remains in the tank after the yeast and sediment settle and the wine is racked off. It tastes like a delicious protein filled yogurt shake, though a bit scary in color! Here, Oregon State researchers are finding ways to use the pomace! Let no part of the grape go unused!

Researchers turn winemaking trash into potential treasure

Pomace, the waste from wine processing, could be a fine new way to turn a profit for winemakers, according to Oregon State researchers.

While you're recycling the bottle and cork of that full-bodied, peppery shiraz, food scientists at Oregon State University are working on recycling pomace — waste from processing grapes into wine.The industry has to deal with more than 4 million tons of grape pomace a year, according to a press release from OSU

Mostly, the wineries pay to remove their waste, but some is used for crop fertilizing and feeding cows.But now, OSU researchers have found all sorts of uses for the stems, skins and seeds that are the detritus of wine production."We now know pomace can be a sustainable source of material for a wide range of goods," said researcher Yanyun Zhao, a professor and value-added food products specialist with the OSU Extension Service. "We foresee wineries selling their pomace rather than paying others to dispose of it. 

One industry's trash can become another industry's treasure."The researchers experimented with waste from pinot noir, merlot, Morio muscat and Müller-Thurgau grapes — paying attention to the difference between red and white grapes' processing treatments that result in variance in sugar, nitrogen and other chemicals in the pulp content.

The team took the pomace, which is chock-full of dietary fibers and phenolics (chemical compounds that act as antioxidants), and transformed it into powders which can be used in foods.For those who are gluten-free, the powders could be quite a breakthrough. When the researchers added it to muffins and brownies, it increased the fiber and antioxidant levels of the goods, plus decreased the need for traditional flour by 15 percent. They are continuing experiments with the pomace powder in yeast breads.

"Adding fiber-rich ingredients can change a dough's absorption qualities and stiffness," said OSU cereal chemist Andrew Ross. "We're trying to find the right balance of pomace in dough while measuring the bread for its density, volume, color and taste. Commercial bakeries need this information before using pomace flour for large-scale production."Adding the powder to yogurt and salad dressings resulted in slowing microbial growth and the breakdown in fats. In other words, it produces a longer shelf life for the products, with bonus dietary fiber.

For fruits and vegetables, the researchers created stretchable, "colorful, edible coatings and films," which also controlled certain bacterial growth, added antioxidants and slowed the drying process.Beyond foodstuffs, the researchers experimented with making biodegradable boards, which handily could be made into "containers, serving trays and flower pots." The pots degraded well in the soil, taking only 30 days to compost by 50-80 percent.

For wineries, especially in the Pacific Northwest and California, the researchers' work can only be good news. According the university press release, "Now, OSU is seeking to establish partnerships with companies interested in marketing the products it developed."

“Conclusive Evidence” for Red Wine's Health and Longevity Benefits

Researchers have demonstrated what they consider conclusive evidence that the red wine compound resveratrol directly activates a protein that promotes health and longevity in animal models. Furthermore, the Harvard Medical School team uncovered the molecular mechanism for this interaction, and they show that a class of more potent drugs currently in clinical trials acts in a similar fashion. 

Pharmaceutical compounds similar to resveratrol may potentially treat and prevent diseases related to aging in people, the researchers contend. Studies over the last decade have demonstrated that resveratrol, a compound found in the skin of grapes as well as in peanuts and berries, increases the activity of a specific sirtuin, SIRT1, that protects the body from diseases by revving up the mitochondria. Mice on resveratrol have twice the endurance and are relatively immune from effects of obesity and aging. In experiments with yeast, nematodes, bees, flies, and mice, lifespan has been extended.

"In the history of pharmaceuticals, there has never been a drug that binds to a protein to make it run faster in the way that resveratrol activates SIRT1," says David Sinclair, Harvard Medical School professor of genetics and senior author on the paper. "Almost all drugs either slow or block them."
The authors thus propose a model for how resveratrol works: When the molecule binds, a hinge flips, and SIRT1 becomes hyperactive. Although these experiments occurred in a test tube, once the researchers identified the precise location of the accelerator pedal on SIRT1—and how to break it—they could test their ideas in a cell. They replaced the normal SIRT1 gene in muscle and skin cells with the accelerator-dead mutant. Now they could test precisely whether resveratrol and the drugs in development work by tweaking SIRT1 (in which case they would not work) or one of the thousands of other proteins in a cell (in which they would work). While resveratrol and the drugs tested revved up mitochondria in normal cells (an effect caused activating by SIRT1), the mutant cells were completely immune.

"There is no rational alternative explanation other than resveratrol directly activates SIRT1 in cells,” says Sinclair. “Now that we know the exact location on SIRT1 where and how resveratrol works, we can engineer even better molecules that more precisely and effectively trigger the effects of resveratrol."

Brangelina Launch Organic Wine in France

Alright, I had to include a little celeb action. So since it's "organic wine" I figured it had a relation to wine health... Cheers Brangelina! Oh, since I'm throwing things in, this article about them amuses too: Brangelina wedding to have ponies, elephants

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Launching Organic Wine Line

Power couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are expanding their empire by dabbling in the wine business. According to PEOPLE, The Jolie-Pitt’s are in the midst of launching an organic wine line for this year. The first wine will be called Miraval, named after their 1,000-acre vineyard estate in Southwestern France that’s located in a wine-growing valley. Organic farming is popular on the land, especially with 75 plus acres growing Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

The debut wine is said to be a 2012 vintage pink rosé that comes in an elegant bottle.Later this year, additional organic white and reds will be released with help from French winegrower Marc Perrin.

“They [Jolie-Pitt's] are very demanding in seeking excellence in the quality and character of their wine,” Perrin told French business magazine Challenges. The three first met last summer on the estate, where they talked about putting their product into distribution, and the design.The wine is set to be released in the U.S. on March 15. Look for the label, which will read “Bottled by Jolie-Pitt and Perrin.”


Red Wine Compound Activates Gene Needed for Healthy Cells

More on the debate on the effectiveness and amount of resveratrol in humans...

Harvard scientists said they have settled a debate over whether a compound found in red wine activates a gene that keeps cells healthy.

Researchers repeated a 10-year old study using a new method to validate earlier findings that resveratrol turns on a gene that recharges mitochondria, tiny structures that produce fuel for cells. By revving up mitochondria, the agent may protect against aging-related diseases, said David Sinclair, a Harvard Medical School genetics professor and the study’s senior author.

Sinclair’s earlier research was disputed in studies in 2009 and 2010 saying that resveratrol only activated the gene, a sirtuin called SIRT1, in experiments that used a synthetic fluorescent chemical to track activity. Since these chemicals aren’t found in cells or nature, other studies said the effect would only work in lab tests and not in humans. The new study, published today in the journal Science, got rid of the chemical.

“Controversy is a difficult thing to deal with, and I hope this paper gives some clarity to the field,” Sinclair said in a telephone interview.

The Harvard group set out to see if the effect was an artifact of the synthetic chemicals or was something that occurred naturally as well. They swapped out the fluorescent chemicals for a group of naturally occurring amino acids, including tryptophan, and found resveratrol did activate SIRT1.

Resveratrol Drugs
Sinclair’s earlier work led to the formation of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals which focuses on developing drugs from resveratrol. GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) acquired the company in 2008 for $720 million. A little more than two years later, Glaxo shelved development of the lead compound from that acquisition, SRT501, when the medicine didn’t appear to work well enough in cancer patients and worsened kidney damage.

Resveratrol is currently being tested in at least two dozen clinical trials to gauge its effects on human health. It’s also packaged as a natural supplement, with $34 million in U.S. sales last year, according to the Nutrition Business Journal.

Further doubt was cast on resveratrol’s abilities after a prominent researcher and promoter of the compound, Dipak Das, who was the director of the University of Connecticut Health Center’s cardiovascular research center, was found to have fabricated and falsified data in numerous studies...

To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Flinn in San Francisco at rflinn@bloomberg.net

Mayo Clinic: Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart?

Red wine and something in red wine called resveratrol might be heart healthy. Find out the facts, and hype, regarding red wine and its impact on your heart.  By Mayo Clinic staff

Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of "good" cholesterol and protecting against artery damage. While the news about red wine might sound great if you enjoy a glass of red wine with your evening meal, doctors are wary of encouraging anyone to start drinking alcohol. That's because too much alcohol can have many harmful effects on your body...

How is red wine heart healthy?
...Antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart. A polyphenol called resveratrol is one substance in red wine that's gotten attention.

Resveratrol in red wine
Resveratrol might be a key ingredient in red wine that helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces "bad" cholesterol and prevents blood clots. Research in mice given resveratrol suggests that the antioxidant might also help protect them from obesity and diabetes, both of which are strong risk factors for heart disease. However, those findings were reported only in mice, not in people. In addition, to get the same dose of resveratrol used in the mice studies, a person would have to drink over 60 liters of red wine every day. Some research shows that resveratrol could be linked to a reduced risk of inflammation and blood clotting, both of which can lead to heart disease...

Resveratrol in grapes, supplements and other foods
The resveratrol in red wine comes from the skin of grapes used to make wine. Because red wine is fermented with grape skins longer than is white wine, red wine contains more resveratrol. Simply eating grapes, or drinking grape juice, has been suggested as one way to get resveratrol without drinking alcohol. Red and purple grape juices may have some of the same heart-healthy benefits of red wine. Other foods that contain some resveratrol include peanuts, blueberries and cranberries...

How does alcohol help the heart?
Various studies have shown that moderate amounts of all types of alcohol benefit your heart, not just alcohol found in red wine. It's thought that alcohol:
  • Raises high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol
  • Reduces the formation of blood clots
  • Helps prevent artery damage caused by high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol

Drink in moderation — or not at all
Red wine's potential heart-healthy benefits look promising. Those who drink moderate amounts of alcohol, including red wine, seem to have a lower risk of heart disease... Neither the American Heart Association nor the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend that you start drinking alcohol just to prevent heart disease. Alcohol can be addictive and can cause or worsen other health problems.

Drinking too much increases your risk of high blood pressure, high triglycerides, liver damage, obesity, certain types of cancer, accidents and other problems. In addition, drinking too much alcohol regularly can cause cardiomyopathy — weakened heart muscle — causing symptoms of heart failure in some people. If you have heart failure or a weak heart, you should avoid alcohol completely. If you take aspirin daily, you should avoid or limit alcohol, depending on your doctor's advice. You also shouldn't drink alcohol if you're pregnant. 

If you already drink red wine, do so in moderation. Moderate drinking is defined as an average of two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. The limit for men is higher because men generally weigh more and have more of an enzyme that metabolizes alcohol than women do. A drink is defined as 12 ounces (355 milliliters, or mL) of beer, 5 ounces (148 mL) of wine or 1.5 ounces (44 mL) of 80-proof distilled spirits.

I love wine archaeology

Any other suggestion?

What role does science play in the quality of wine?

Everything, to start with. But finished wine is always the result of nature, science and artistry. Climate, earth, farming techniques, pest control, water supply, and pruning vary year to year. And you have to go pretty darn far back if you really want to get to the "beginning" of this bottle of wine. It doesn't start with the vintage; it starts millenniums ago with the development of the earth the vines finally get to grow in. That's why it is hard (read: not possible) to replicate certain prestigious regions such as my home of Napa Valley, as well as the pride of Bourgogne. Those soils, loam, sand, limestone and volcanic rocks took a lot of action to get there, and then get discovered for what that spot of earth does best. But I'm curious what this esteemed professor has to say... Please update me if you go to this!

Science of wine is topic of WSU Innovator lecture
SEATTLE - What role does science play in the quality of wine? Thomas Henick-Kling, director of the Washington State University viticulture and enology program, explores this and other questions in "Science in Your Glass,” the WSU Innovators luncheon, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, April 4, at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle. 

"Our understanding of all aspects of the winemaking process, from molecules to markets and from vineyards to bottles, underpins the wonderful success of the Washington wine industry,” said Henick-Kling. "This nearly $15 billion industry is an engine of job-creating vitality. I'm excited to be able to share some of the science that makes this all possible.” The unique characteristics of Washington's climate and soil contribute to the distinctive taste of its premium wines. But those same characteristics create challenges and opportunities for growers and winemakers specific to the Pacific Northwest. 

WSU has partnered with state winemakers and growers since the 1960s to engage in cutting-edge research and provide hands-on education for a highly trained and discerning workforce. WSU researchers have helped growers site vineyards and manage irrigation regimes for optimum fruit quality. The university has developed environmentally sound pest and disease management techniques and is helping unlock the chemical mysteries of wine flavor profiles.

Resveratrol is back on again - saving you from aging! Well, almost...

Resveratrol certainly is good for you. But how good, how much is needed, and under what circumstances seems be the big question. Well, hallelujah, a new research says... well, in short, go ahead and feel good about drinking your glass of red wine again.

Red wine molecule could be healthy
Grab a glass of red - it seems to be a rejuvenating drink again. Red wine goes in and out of health fashion. But now it's back as a possible preventer or fighter of aging diseases. 

That good news for wine lovers comes thanks to the efforts of 30 researchers from around the globe. They've produced a paper saying that under certain conditions SIRT1, the human sirtuin protein known to combat many age-related diseases, can be activated by resveratrol and other sirtuin-activating compounds (STACs)...

Herbal Additions to Your Wine? Recommendation for the Pope: Coca Wine

Bex Note:  TIMELY SUGGESTION! And I'd like to try some too!  Dear Pope, will you share? 

While I relish the opportunity to experiment making wines and adding other healthy elements such as alternative medicinal plant herbs, I wonder what the US Market reaction and opportunities are for such wine beverages that would need to be labeled either “Table Wine With Natural Flavors" or "Grape Wine With Natural Flavors?”

What natural, healthy additions would you like to try in your wines? How much are you willing to pay for such a drink? Have you tried any? Let me know when you find one!

Bolivia's Morales Recommends Coca Wine to Next Pope

VIENNA - Bolivian President Evo Morales suggested on Monday that the next Pope try wine made from coca leaf, something Bolivians have chewed for centuries and can also be used to make cocaine.

Morales, himself a former coca leaf farmer who has fought to decriminalize its use by indigenous people, sang its praises at a meeting of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs and said the crop would be part of his country's drive to industrialize.

He recalled how Frenchman Angelo Mariani had won a Vatican gold medal in the 19th century for his coca wine, adding: "I really hope the new Pope, who should be named soon, will also use the wine like Mariani."

Roman Catholic cardinals have assembled in Rome to elect a new Pope in secret voting starting on Tuesday, following the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI last month.

Mariani's tonic wine was prized in his time for its perceived benefits for health and vitality, and was enjoyed by public figures ranging from Queen Victoria to Thomas Edison.

In the 19th century, popes Pius X and Leo XIII enjoyed drinking Mariani wine from coca leaves, which Bolivians traditionally chew as a mild stimulant that reduces hunger and altitude sickness.

Bolivia said in January it had been re-admitted to the UN anti-narcotics convention after persuading members to recognize the right of its indigenous people to chew the leaf. Morales thanked the conference for that gesture on Monday.

Coca leaf was declared an illegal narcotic in the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, along with substances including cocaine, heroin, opium and morphine.

Bolivia is the biggest cocaine producer after fellow South American states Peru and Colombia. But Morales said the coca plant offers health benefits and has many legitimate uses.

"We have mate (tea), we have wine, we have toothpaste, we have many products," he said. "We even use coca in wedding cakes. It is very fashionable now." —  Reuters

Calories in Wine vs Beer (Infographic)

Bex notes:    There is a joke in the wine industry that's not so much a joke: What does a winemaker want at the end of a long work day? A beer. So no hard feelings against it, but as most of  the articles below highlight, wine is full of so much more than calories, alcohol and relaxation but also many, many benefits. But sometimes, you just want a cool frothy one. I'm a fan of the rich and dark Belgians but those are also higher in calories. If you're a Bud/Coors/Miller Lite drinker, congratulations, you're consuming the least calories in the beer category. But then again, if you're a american beer lite drinker, you're probably not reading my blog. Am I wrong?

So I ask you, as a wine drinker, when you drink beer, why do you choose beer and which type do you choose?

Calories in Wine vs Beer (Infographic)

Calories in Wine vs Beer
Since the FDA doesn’t require nutrition facts on alcoholic beverages it’s very difficult to understand how much a drink will cost your diet plan. 

...Every drink, whether it be beer, wine or liquor is some combination of alcohol calories, sugar calories and sometimes fat calories

Health Benefits of Wine and Beer
Both beer and wine have some added benefits to drinkers that many distilled alcoholic beverages do not. For instance, red wine that is high in tannin contains procyanidins which protect against heart disease. Beer is a significant source of dietary silicon which improves bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

Not All Wines and Beers Have the Same Calories
Since some beer and wine have a higher alcohol percentage than others, the total calories will vary greatly. A good rule of thumb is to choose the lightest alcohol dry wine or beer in order to have the least calories.

TN Debate on Wine Sold in Grocery Stores - Creates Alcoholics?

Personally I believe this is a selfish case of business owners and government trying to protect their own interests, 3 tier systems, middlemen, old guard and siting unproved "greater good" arguments. Of course the liquor stores and owners of them who are on the government boards don't want wine distributed in grocery stores, but it IS more convenient for the customer. And really, wine in grocery stores rather than liquor stores will cause alcoholism? Please run that research and get back to us. 

Also note that Costco across state borders charges more for wine than in-state liquor stores, and the allowance of wine in grocery stores would also lead to better prices for consumers in-state.

Wine-in-grocery-stores debate: claims vs. facts
To hear one side tell it, if the state's grocery stores sell wine, Tennessee will see more alcoholics, more underage drinking and the collapse of countless small liquor stores.The other camp predicts an economic shot in the arm, stoking wine sales to new highs and making Tennessee the purchasing destination for wine lovers who live near state borders.State lawmakers are debating yet again legislation that would allow food sellers to also sell wine.

• Sales of wine in grocery stores will lead to more alcoholism.
Last week, Vanderbilt University psychiatry professor Peter Martin testified to senators that allowing grocery and convenience stores to sell wine would ultimately increase the rate of alcoholism in the state.

• Convenience and grocery stores aren't as diligent in checking identification, so selling wine there will increase underage drinking.
In recent months, Madison County Sheriff David Woolfork has been outspoken against bringing wine sales to food stores. Woolfork said his officers have seen firsthand the impact alcohol can have on underage drinkers. He believes the measure would worsen the problem.

• If shoppers are allowed to buy wine at the same time as their food, then wine and spirits stores will lose money and be forced to close.
"If people buy more wine, that purchase comes out of their discretionary income," he said. "If I choose to buy a bottle of wine, then I will choose to not buy something else. I won't buy a movie ticket. I won't go out to dinner."

• Tennessee is losing tax revenue from shoppers who live near the border with states that allow grocery stores to sell wine.
If shoppers don't live far from wine-selling groceries across state borders, they will drive a little farther and spend their money out of state, the grocery lobby contends. 

A check Friday showed that at that Costco store across the Georgia line, a bottle of St. Francis cabernet sauvignon was $14.99 plus 7 percent sales tax. The same bottle at Riverside Wine, Spirits and Beverages in Chattanooga was $19.99 plus 9.25 percent tax. An Erath pinot noir cost $14.99 at the big-box store, $19.99 at the wine store.

New Chemical Found in Red Wine, EGCG, Could Play Role In Fighting Alzheimer's

I'm pretty excited to read about a newly discovered chemical in red wine that COULD help stave off Alzheimer's! While it is still testing in a lab, the results are very promising for an as of yet incurable and fast increasing, traumatizing disease. This newly discovered chemical is called EGCG and is also found in Green Tea, one of my other favorite healthy beverages. Drink up!

EGCG, In Green Tea & Red Wine, Could Help Fight Alzheimer's

A new study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry shows that an antioxidant called EGCG, which is found in green tea and red wine, is able to stop amyloid-beta proteins -- known to play a role in Alzheimer's -- from attaching to and killing brain cells in a lab setting. The study is based on the notion that amyloid proteins form ball-like clumps, which are not uniform in size. These amyloid clumps then bind to the outer proteins of brain cells and kill them. However, the researchers wanted to see if changing the shape of the amyloid clumps -- by applying EGCG-- altered their ability to bind to the brain cells. Sure enough, they found that the EGCG could change the shape of the amyloid proteins. And because of that, the amyloid proteins no longer bound to the cells.

...These findings are released at the same time as another study in the journal Neurology, showing that the number of people with Alzheimer's could triple by 2050, MyHealthNewsDaily reported. "It will place a huge burden on society, disabling more people who develop the disease, challenging their caregivers and straining medical and social safety nets," study researcher Jennifer Weuve, who is an assistant professor of medicine at Rush Institute for Healthy Aging, told MyHealthNewsDaily.  

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer's, though there are some medications that can help to stave off the thinking problems associated with the disease, including cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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Only Red Wine Health? Think Again: Benefits of Champagne

And by champagne, we of course mean the category of all sparkling wines.... Red wine always gets the props for "wine health" but did you know that sparkling wine also has great benefits? Mind you, sparkling wine is higher in calories, but you're still boosting your body while enjoying one of life's most luxurious indulgences. So cheers to you next time you're enjoying my BX Bubbles Blanc de Noirs Brut -- consider it a work out with pleasure!

I asked my friend, nationally recognized nutrition expert and published author Keri Glassman, to weigh in on how indulging in a little champagne can offer better health.

Lowers blood pressure
Glassman shares that in 2009, research from the British Journal of Nutrition found that champagne has health benefits similar to those often attributed to red wine. ...  "However, only the champagne drinkers experienced a slower removal of nitric oxide from their blood." What does this mean? "Sipping a few glasses of champagne may lower blood pressure and potentially reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease."

Contains antioxidants
When you’re enjoying that mimosa with brunch, pat yourself on the back, because champagne contains antioxidants – "powerful nutrients that work to contain the damage caused by free-roaming radicals in our bodies," according to Glassman. "Free-roaming radicals are often linked to disease, fatigue and weight gain. Antioxidants are important because they 'quench' these radicals and help protect our cells from damage and death. "Champagne and red wines both contain high levels of polyphenols, a kind of antioxidant. But unlike red wine, champagne is high in a specific form of polyphenol that has been shown to defend nerve cells from injury... Pairing champagne with orange, grapefruit or cranberry juice also ups the antioxidant ante and makes for a most charming cocktail.

Boosts your mood
I had no idea that champagne also offers us a mental boost (isn’t that awesome?), but Glassman says "just a few glasses of champagne can [help] protect your brain from damage that is commonly associated with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and stroke... 

Recipes with Champagne...

A Real Buzz on Wine: Aerating in a blender

I definitely have my hesitations over this as a regular practice to your finest wines. However, when necessity calls, I'm guilty of similar or even worse offenses. What's your wine offense? How do you feel about this blender method?

Decanting wine is a common tactic among some oenophiles, and involves pouring the drink through an aerator or into a special container to let it "breathe." But inventor and amateur chef Nathan Myhrvold has an even better and faster way: Put it in the blender.

This agitates the wine and makes it react with air more quickly, performing the same role as decanting but faster, Myhrvold said in a speech here at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on last Saturday.

But the real reason to do it? "The looks on people's faces," Myhrvold said. "If you do this with a wine expert in the room — it's as if you committed some deeply unnatural act."...

7 Health Benefits of Drinking Red Wine

We talk about heart health, cholesterol levels, arteries and fighting the development of cancer, but did you know RED wine is good for WHITE teeth? Not sure I agree with the 40 WINKS, however. Note this was posted in Yahoo! India.

Don’t feel guilty the next time your order a bottle of a Shiraz or a Pinot Noir for your dinner date. It may actually prove to be good for your health.

For years, researchers have puzzled over the ‘French Paradox’. The French have relatively low levels of cholesterol and less cases of heart disease, despite of the fact that their cuisine has high levels of saturated fat. Many studies suggest that that the French are healthy due to the presence of red wine in their diet. So, now that the secret is out, why not use it to the fullest? Here are some of the health benefits of enjoying an occasional glass of red wine.

Prevents tooth decay

For a perfect set of pearly whites, you should drink red wine. It hardens your enamel which in turn prevents tooth decay and the growth of bacteria. Polyphenols, something which is found in red wine, can reduce gum inflammation and prevent gum diseases. 

Ancient Wine

By Patrick McGovern, the Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, where he is also an Adjunct Professor of Anthropology. In the popular imagination, he is known as the "Indiana Jones of Ancient Ales, Wines, and Extreme Beverages."

Wine, the premier fermented beverage of Mediterranean and Near Eastern civilizations, was likely discovered and enjoyed early in human prehistory.  Although the organic evidence of these unique beverages, with their special dietary benefits and psychotropic effects, has largely disappeared, highly sensitive techniques now make it possible to identify chemical compounds that are specific to wine.  Our earliest finding is that the Neolithic villagers of the northern Zagros mountains of Iran were making wine and... 

Byzantine wine press discovered in Jaffa

Archaeological excavations in the Israeli city of Jaffa have uncovered what was likely a wine press that dates back to the Byzantine era. The find from the Israel Antiquities Authority provides a glimpse of the remains of an industrial installation from the sixth or seventh century, which was used to extract liquid.

Installations such as these are usually identified as wine presses for producing wine from grapes, and it is also possible they were used to produce wine or alcoholic beverage from other types of fruit that grew in the region. Jaffa’s rich and diverse agricultural tradition has a history thousands of years old beginning with references to the city and its fertile fields in ancient Egyptian documents up until Jaffa’s orchards in the Ottoman period.

According to Dr. Yoav Arbel, director of the excavations on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “This is the first important building from the Byzantine period to be uncovered in this part of the city. The fact that the installation is located relatively far from Tel Yafo adds a significant dimension to our knowledge about the impressive agricultural distribution in the region in this period...

HEALTHY DIET: Key to healthy heart- olive oil, nuts, wine & chocolate

Bex diet notes: What's better than finding out that delicious foods are healthy? Find many delicious & healthy recipes to pair with BX of Napa Wines on the tab to the left!

Switching to a diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruit, vegetables, and even some wine and chocolate can slash your risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease. That's the conclusion of a landmark study out this week in the New England of Medicine.

The benefit was so great--a 30 percent reduction in risk, even among people at high risk, many of whom were already taking drugs for high blood pressure and cholesterol levels...

...What part of the diet was most important? The benefit likely comes from the combination working together, not any one food.

...Those who drink wine should aim for about seven glasses a week, with meals. Oh, you can also eat as much chocolate as you like, as long as it's at least 50 percent cocoa.

The Chemistry Behind Great Food Pairings

Greasy food causes over lubrication and leaves an unpleasant slippery feeling on the tongue. On the other hand, drinking very dry wine or strong tea or eating acidic fruit causes the proteins to be precipitated out, creating an equally unpleasant dry sensation.  Quoting Dr. Paul Breslin, a sensory biologist at Rutgers University and at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, and one of the authors of a study in the journal Current Biology.

I ask: Zero Alcohol or Less Alcohol?

Bex notes:  Is wine really wine if there is NO alcohol? The stuff I've tried is terrible, just serve me Welchs grape juice instead please! Obviously I understand the call for less alcohol in wines, from pregnancy to driving to weight, but alcohol is actually an essential ingredient contributing to the HEALTHY aspects of wine. Of course this is my blog and therefore my plug for my HALF ALCOHOL wine, that actually tastes good. Everything is better in moderation they say! Don't throw the baby (alcohol) out with the wine. Anyway, here is an article touting zero alcohol wine, just to share fair:

Pregnant women are raising their glasses to alcohol-free wine.The growing trend is making waves throughout the world, including Muslim nations and now also Australia and New Zealand.It's also being touted as a positive way to combat New Zealand's binge drinking culture. And pregnant women, designated drivers, athletes, and even children are among fans.International Aotearoa owner Raylene O'Connor began importing alcohol-free wines after tiring of juice and fizzy drink at social occasions."I live in North Canterbury and there's no taxis here. I was always the sober driver," she said.

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A host of reasons to drink red wine, but please, not 1000 bottles...

...the Yale-New Haven hospital talks up the benefits of the drink, pointing to its effects on heart-health. Researchers included moderate alcohol consumption as one of the "eight proven ways to reduce coronary heart disease risk.

...And the magical powers of wine extend beyond your cardiovascular system. WebMD physician, Arthur Agatston, also touted alcohol's benefits on cholesterol,  telling CBS, "The research evidence points to ethanol, or the alcohol component, of beer, wine, or spirits as the substrate that can help lower cholesterol levels, increase 'good' HDL cholesterol." Studies have also shown that that same ingredient that helps the lazy might also benefit the aging... 

Wine: Kills Oral Bacteria on Contact

Drinking wine can maintain heart healthprevent cancer and even settle a mean case of diarrhea. Research now shows it’s also good for your teeth and throat.According to a new study, a cocktail of compounds found in both red and white wine fights germs that can cause dental plaque as well as sore throats.“Exposure to wine had a persistent antibacterial effect,” the authors wrote in their study, detailed in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Prior to their research, the authors said the effects of wine against germs found in the mouth hadn’t been studied.Red wines have stronger bacteria-fighting effects than white wine, although not by much. Curiously, the acidity and alcohol isn’t responsible for wine’s germ-fighting properties—instead, it’s a collection of organic (carbon-containing) compounds found in the drink.

Resveratrol Science Hits a Wall

A top resveratrol researcher from Harvard, David Sinclair, found a few years ago that resveratrol may mimic the effect of caloric restriction in humans. This is the only known way to extend life, Das writes in his study. Not to be confused with starvation, which increases metabolism and therefore hastens death, caloric restriction involves controlled limited calorie intake. (It appears to activate a genetic response that extends life when food is scarce, allowing animals to survive until supplies improve and they can reproduce.)

..."Resveratrol is so powerful it can activate stem-cell survival," Dipak Das, a researcher at the University of Connecticut’s Cardiovascular Research Center, said. "So why is it not extending lifespan, by improving the survivability of genes?"...

For whole story go here: http://goo.gl/jpBPS

Escape to Green Wine Country for Earth Day

With more sustainable wine-growing than anywhere else in the world, California is the perfect place to celebrate Earth Day (April 22) this year and throughout the month. The state's winereies are offering many special events showcasing eco-responsible wine-growing and winemaking.


Saponins, Anyone? Another Chemical in Red Wine Fights Cholesterol

If you enjoy sharing a glass of a nice red wine with friends and family, you may be working on reducing your cholesterol while you're relaxing. Scientists at the University of California, Davis, think that a group of chemicals in red wine, called saponins, are linked to the ability to lower cholesterol. If you have been following the discussions on the French paradox you are already familiar with the link between red wine and reduced risk of heart disease. ..Yet it seems that folks who grow up in France tend to have less clogged arteries and are less obese than Americans or Brits. For years this has been attributed to red wines' health benefits – specifically the compounds catechins and resveratrol, called polyphenols, found in red wine. These chemicals also have antioxidant or anticancer properties.

Andrew Waterhouse, Ph.D., Professor of Enology at UC Davis, an expert in wine chemistry, says that saponins are being found in an increasing number of foods and their presence in wine adds to the mounting evidence that red wine really may make a difference in lowering your cholesterol. "Saponins are a hot new food ingredient. People are just starting to pay attention to it," says Waterhouse. It seems that red wine contains about three to ten times as much saponin as white. This is probably because the saponins are found in the skins of the grapes and red wines have longer contact with their skins in the fermentation process.

The tests showed that the Red Zinfandel has the highest levels of saponins followed by Syrah. Both Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon had about the same amount. No other red wines were tested, but scientists believe that most red wines contain significant amounts of this chemical.

Reaction to red wine? It's probably NOT a sulfite allergy

If you have a reaction to red wine, but not white, then your problem is probably not a sulfite allergy. In most cases, there are more sulfites in white wine than in red.

...If you have a stronger reaction to red wine than you do to white (as many people do), it’s probably not because of sulfites. Dry white wines can legally contain over 200 parts per million, whereas most regulations keep reds in the 150 range. Sweet wines can be as high as 400. By comparison, dried fruits can contain up to 1,000 parts per million.

...The most likely explanation has to do with the skins of the grapes. Red wines are fermented with grape skins. That’s where they get their color. Most white wines are pressed immediately after harvest, and skins are removed. Grape skins contain histamines and tannin. If the histamines bother you, take a non-drowsy antihistamine before drinking wine. That may help. If the problem is with the tannins, some red wines have less tannin than others. Pinot Noir, for example, generally sees less contact with grape skins during fermentation than Cabernet.

...But even organic farmers have to deal with the technical aspect of winemaking, and many still use at least a little bit of sulphur, especially with white wines.  Some wines from organically farmed grapes don’t indicate it on the label because the U.S definition for organic wine doesn’t allow for the addition of sulfur. If any sulphur is added during fermentation the label can only say, “Made from organic grapes.”  In the European Union, sulphur is considered a natural element and is permitted in certified organic winemaking.

For whole story go to: http://goo.gl/4LfH1

OAK EFFECT: Free radicals in red wine, but not in white?

By using Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) spectroscopy, we have detected free radicals in red wine, whether fermented on oak or not, and in white wine only when it has been fermented on oak. These radicals would appear to be associated with the phenolics, because the ESR signal from the residue of red wine treated with polyvinyl polypyrrolidone is reduced by approximately 80%. Any inhibition of lipid oxidation by red wine phenolics in vitro will take place in the presence of these radicals, which have a linewidth of 2.0 +/- 0.1 gauss and a g-value of 2.0038 +/- 0.0001.

Holiday drinks: Good cheer, but watch the calories

Whether it's hot buttered rum or spiced apple cider, find out how many calories are in your holiday drink favorites.
Your family's seasonal celebrations may not be complete without festive holiday drinks — mulled red wine, homemade hot cocoa, chilled champagne or creamy eggnog. Because many of these drinks can add extra calories and fat, though, continue to get regular exercise, limit your indulgences and try healthier options when possible. For instance, you can find reduced-fat and sugar-free versions of many drinks, including eggnog and cocoa — and you don't need to feel like a Scrooge for doing it.  So as you serve up a bit of holiday cheer this year, keep in mind these calorie counts.

Red vs White wine - is there a difference in health benefit?

So why are the antioxidant molecules in white wine apparently more effective than those found in red wines even though they are present in greater numbers in red wines?
The answer lies in the research of Dr. Troup, a physicist at Monash University in Melbourne. Dr. Troup used an electron spin resonance spectroscope to examine the actual size of the various antioxidant molecules in wine and showed that those in white wine are smaller and thus more effective because they can be more easily absorbed.
...Returning to the 'French Paradox'. Reynaud observed that the French, despite eating a vascular disease-predisposing cholesterol rich diet, have significantly less coronary heart disease than other similarly indulgent countries. The reason for this, according to Reynaud is due largely to France's high consumption of wine...
It has been well documented that consuming alcohol in moderation can reduce mortality from all causes by 30-50% (1) due, mainly, to reducing our society's biggest killer, cardiovascular disease by up to 50% (2) and cancer by up to 24% (3). It is also good for relieving society's other big disease group - stress related illness.

Is wine good for you? In moderation, a glass or two can help your heart, prevent cancer and more

Is wine good for you? In moderation and as part of an overall healthy diet, the short answer is yes! Thanks to its alcohol content and non-alcoholic phytochemicals (natural occurring plant compounds), wine has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers and slow the progression of neurological degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.
...Non-alcoholic phytochemicals in wine, such as flavanoids and resveratrol, act as antioxidants and prevent molecules known as “free radicals” from causing cellular damage in the body.

Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart?

Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of "good" cholesterol and protecting against artery damage.
Antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart.
A polyphenol called resveratrol is one substance in red wine that's gotten attention.
How does alcohol help the heart?
Various studies have shown that moderate amounts of all types of alcohol benefit your heart, not just alcohol found in red wine. It's thought that alcohol:
  • Raises high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol
  • Reduces the formation of blood clots
  • Helps prevent artery damage caused by high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol

Drink Low and Slow: Low-Alcohol Wines Perfect for Summer

Technically, there's no category called "low-alcohol wines." Most white wine hovers around 11 percent alcohol, and most red is in the 13 percent range. Lately, California has been churning out big, bruising, expensive red zinfandels with 15 percent and more, and the wine-selling and wine-buying communities have come to equate high alcohol with high quality.

Although the difference in alcohol between different wines may be only two or three percentage points, it makes a big difference in context. If a light Italian pinot grigio comes in at 11 percent, a glass of one of those scary zins at 15 percent will get you almost 1.5 times as intoxicated, which is profound, especially if you think you're just going to have a glass or two. On the other hand, a Portuguese Vinho Verde with seven or eight percent delivers 40% less active ingredient, and that's welcome on a steamy summer day. Tastes great versus less intoxicating: you make the call.


More and more European winemakers are starting to look into the idea of making "light" wines -- with 3% to 6% less alcohol content than traditional varieties.

As you can imagine, the wine snobs are turning up their noses at them, but is that fair?

Experts say that such low-alcohol wines taste the same as higher "octane" wines, yet might be healthier for us -- all the fun of a glass of wine, but with less alcohol.


...While high strength white wines are arguably equally strong in taste and flavour, many consumers have started to demand a tasty tipple that won’t have them toppling over. Today, supermarkets and other wine retailers are responding with wines that have a lower alcohol content without compromising on taste...