Red Wine

Red wine is something we all specialise in the ares of Chianti Classico, and of course Fattoria di Montemaggio is not an exception.

Montemaggio offers you an exclusive range of organic red wines that are 100% handmade with little to no use of chemicals. Red wine is a popular post meal drink and has various health benefits, especially for the heart. Our Italian red wines range from intense violet for young wines, to brick red for mature wines, and brownish red for older wines.

Red wine is a type of wine made from dark-coloured (black) grape varieties. The actual colour of the wine can range from intense violet, typical of young wines, through to brick red for mature wines and brown for older red wines.

The juice from most black grapes is greenish-white; the red colour comes from anthocyan pigments (also called anthocyanins) naturally present in the skin of the grape; exceptions are the relatively uncommon teinturier varieties, which produce a red colored juice. Much of the red-wine production process therefore involves extraction of colour and flavour components from the grape skin.

The positive effect of red wine has been know for years supported by many staudies of heart related deseas and others. Why dont we look at those positive effect again.

Red wine reduces coronary heart diseases: the wine is altering the blood lipid levels. It lowers the total cholesterol count, and raises the high density lipoprotein (HDL) levels. This is supported by epidemiological studies: the polyphenols may be involved in this cardioprotective effect because of their antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties, resulting in decreased generation of oxidized lipids. The tested red wine extracts (cabernet-sauvignon grape variety) elicited enhanced NO generation, cyclic GMP accumulation and endothelium-dependent relaxation in rat aortic rings. Both anthocyanins and oligomeric condensed tannins appeared to be involved. Among the anthocyanins, delphinidin, but not malvidin or cyanidin, produced endothelial NO-dependent vasorelaxation (aka: it smooths the muscles of the blood vessels), indicating that only some specific structures are able to cause endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation, independently of their antioxidant properties. To achieve this effect, extracellular Ca2+ (=calcium ion) is needed for activation (of endothelial NO synthase activation). Summarizing: their findings suggest that one of the mechanisms of the cardioprotective effects of red wine and other plants containing polyphenols may be the increase in endothelial NO production induced by oligomeric condensed tannins and anthocyanins.

Red wine maintains the immune system: According to a study published by the University of Florida, red wine does not suppress the immune system like other alcoholic beverages. A two month study on mice has been performed to examine what immune system reactions red wine caused on mammals. The team examined mice of various drinking levels – non-drinkers, red wine drinkers, and heavy alcohol drinkers. They found that those who drank the red wine had a normal level of immunity, the same as that of the non-drinking mice. (The level of red wine consumption for the mice would equal that of a human drinking two or three glasses a night. But at the moment of writing (2001) they don’t have a clue which compounds in red wine is causing this, but I’d go for the tannins.

Polyphenols in wine: like the tannin mentioned above, do have a positive effect on your body as well: they are excellent antioxidants. In short: they lower total cholesterol and blood pressure, lessen risks of cancer, stimulate the immune system, and have anti-bacterial properties. See the above mentioned aspects for more detail.

Resveratrol (trans-3,5,4′-trihydroxystilbene): is a naturally occurring antioxidant too that decreases the stickiness of blood platelets and helps blood vessels remain open and flexible. It is said that it inhibits the enzymes that can stimulate cancer-cell growth and suppress immune response. A series of laboratory experiments suggests the proof of this statement. However, this was only tested on animals. In another set of animal tests, resveratrol was shown to inhibit both the acute and chronic phases of inflammation (yet again the immune system). Wine is the primary dietary source of resveratrol, and red wine contains much greater amounts of resveratrol than does white wine, since resveratrol is concentrated in the grape skin and the manufacturing process of red wine includes prolonged contact with grape skins. Resveratrol has been used in connection with atherosclerosis too (a reduced risk of course). Resveratrol is a phytoestrogen (= similar to estrogen, but from plant origin, and is known to inhibit tumors in the breast and uterus), but it differs from other phytoestrogens in that it acts as an estrogen agonist and stimulates ERE-driven reporter gene activity in CHO-K1 cells (I couldn’t get access to ERE gene information, nor the exact description of CHO-K1 cells, but the context of the abstract implies increased DNA transcription activity of specific ERE-gene sequences in genetically modified(?) cells in rat uteri).

A brief calculation: a glass of red wine provides approximately 640 mcg of resveratrol, while a handful of peanuts provides about 73 mcg. The amount used in animals to prevent cancer, however, would exceed 500 mg per human adult. This equals about 2.5 bottles of wine… So there must be at least one other component, or a mixture, that contributes to the decrease in occurrence of cancer and high blood pressure prevention.

Flavonoids: Red grapes contain flavonoids, also powerful antioxidants that work as cancer preventives.

Anti-bacterial activity: In a study of 1800 people, scientists tested for the presence ofHelicobacter pylori, which causes ulcer infections. Compared to non-drinkers, those who had one glass of wine a day had 7% fewer of these bacteria. Those who drink two glasses a day had 18%, and those who drank 3 or more glasses had 1/3 fewer bacteria. On the conto of tannins maybe?

Anti-stress: wine does have a calming influence (surprise, surprise). The fact that a dinner is accompanied by a drink which helps the body relax and unwind can help the mental transition between work and relaxation. Also, people fighting other illnesses can combat them better when calm and focused.