Aug 21: If you can't wait to uncork your bottle of red wine, rather than cellar it, you may be doing your health a favour; a new study of 16 wines from Australia and New Zealand has found that the levels of healthy antioxidants, existing mostly in red grapes, decrease significantly over time with researchers reporting the resveratrol with proven cardiovascular, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic effects, going down by about 75% over a 16-month ageing
Dr Mani Naiker of Faculty of Science &. Technology at the Central Queensland University (CQU), the lead researcher of the Study, says ‘the trans-resveratrolcompound has proved to have cardiovascular, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic effects. The more you consume this compound in your food or in beverages, it is perceived to give you better health benefits. When we compared younger bottled wines with mature red wines, we found that as the wine ages, the concentration of this important bioactive compound decreases by about 75 per cent over a 16-month period.’
This study measured resveratrol concentration in 16 Australasian red wines ranging from 1 to 6 years old, both initially and after a storage period of 16 months under ambient conditions. After the initial resveratrol levels were measured, the bottles were resealed and stored in darkness in their original packaging. During the study period, trans ‐resveratrol concentration decreased by an average of 76%. Decay rate was remarkably independent of growing condition and year.
The study published in Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research last month found that the concentration decreased in some wines by as much as 96 %.
‘Irrespective of where we got the red wine from, which variety it was, or the processing of that compound, the loss was the same,’ Dr Naiker said, adding ‘I might just leave it with the French paradox that having a glass of red with a meal every day is good for your health’ but also suggesting now that it might be better to drink a young red rather than an old one.
Growing demand for young red wine
Although not related with the Results of the Study, the Aussie wine business consultant, Peter Scudamore-Smith MW claims the popularity of younger red wines has increased tremendously in the last 10 years or so. ‘It's to do with the millennials showing their preferences for wines that their parents don't enjoy. They explore new things. With the younger generations it's -buy now, drink now or in a casual situation in a bar or bistro, drink younger wines by the glass.’
‘People over 55 are still drinking a lot of full-bodied reds, whereas the younger generations want something really snappy, vibrant, fresh and coloured, not old, oily and with high alcohol. The increased popularity of younger wine is due to a generational change rather than for health benefits’, says Peter, according to ABC news, adding, ’it's just a total coincidence rather than a nutritional issue.’
"The whole process of making wine has really been reinvigorated and rethought during the last 5-10 years”, he feels, adding ‘There's probably 100 grape varieties sold in Australian bottle shops now and previously, 20 years ago, there was probably only about 15.’
It ought to be pointed out that when making wine, the winemaker’s brief is not to extract as much resveratrol as possible but to maintain the balance of all the elements in the wine. Less than a fourth of the potential compound is extracted; any more would bring in bitterness and the wine would taste over-extracted. Therefore, we recommend to go for the flavour rather than looking for the resveratrol in your glass of wine-editor
Table of Wines Studied
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