Category Archives: Wine and Health

Feb 02 2014

The Real Benefits of Drinking Wine

Posted on February 02, 2014 | By merrill@cellarit.com

A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine.

Wine critic Huon Hooke used this wonderful Louis Pasteur quote to illustrate his point that a glass of wine can give your day a lift. In his article First-hand Experience Hooke talks about the intellectual and sensory pleasures that drinking wine in moderation, especially with a meal, offers. (First-hand Experience by Huon Hooke, Gourmet Traveller Wine, Feb/Mar 2014)

Based on my own first-hand experience, I absolutely agree with Hooke when he says that a “great wine transforms great food into a great meal.” And the pleasure is further enhanced when you know you are enjoying a really great wine.

If the only benefit of drinking wine is that it enhances your appreciation of one of life’s most important pleasures – a good meal – then perhaps you need no other excuse to regularly enjoy wine in moderation. But as hardly a day goes by when the media isn’t drawing our attention to the medical pros or cons of drinking wine, I read with interest Andrew Jefford’s latest article in Decanter, highlighting some of the most recent research on wine’s health benefits. (Decanter, 2014)

According to Professor Mladen Borban of the University of Split School of Medicine in Croatia, drinking wine with a meal helps to alleviate ‘postprandial oxidative stress.’

Before you reach for a glass of wine to get your head around the term, here’s Jefford fairly  easy to understand explanation. Essentially eating a lot of food at once (as we do when we sit down for a meal) creates an inflammatory response in our stomachs. Antioxidants, such as the phenolic components in wine, help to digest food better by combatting inflammation. In other words, wine is useful for alleviating physical as well as mental stress!

Other … Read the rest

Oct 10 2012

Wine and Health: Making Sense of the Headlines!

Posted on October 10, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

A day doesn’t seem to go by when the press isn’t highlighting either the benefits or perils of drinking alcoholic beverages. Much of the information is confusing, and unfortunately to the dismay of wine lovers and the wine industry, no doubt, wine is often lumped in with beer and spirits in reports about the pros and cons of drinking.

After perusing a fair amount of research on the subject, drinking wine in moderation was about the only piece of advice I could find agreement on. Of course, defining what constitutes moderation is also subject to debate, but in general no more than two to three glasses of wine a day for men and one to two glasses for women is the recommended guideline.

In fact the 2011 US Dietary Guidelines, which are updated every five years, actually highlight the benefits of drinking alcohol in moderation: “Strong evidence from observational studies has shown that moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Moderate alcohol consumption also is associated with reduced risk of all-cause mortality among middle-aged and older adults and may help to keep cognitive function intact with age.” (Dietary Guidelines Still Only Nod to Wine by Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator, 7 February 2011)

But, as the Wine Spectator’s Harvey Steiman laments, the US Government, probably for political reasons, no longer makes a distinction between the benefits of wine consumption and other alcoholic beverages like beer or spirits. This is a pity because most of the research on the benefits of moderate consumption of alcohol have in fact focused on the health outcomes of wine drinkers.

You may be surprised to learn that wine is in fact the world’s oldest documented man-made medicine. The Ancient Greeks and Romans were avid consumers and prescribed wine for a … Read the rest