L'chaim! Research makes white wine as healthy as red

Researchers create white wine that contains the same amount of healthful antioxidants as red wine.

jp.services2 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
A white wine that contains the same amount of healthful antioxidants as red wine has been developed by researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. Antioxidants are believed to slow the ageing of tissue in the body (by fighting oxygen free radicals) and help prevent heart attacks and other conditions. Grape skins are the key to the research. Red wine is made by fermenting the juice along with the skins, while white wine requires their removal. The skins are what give red wine its coloration and contain the highest concentration of polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants. The researchers theorized that they could boost the antioxidant capacity of white wine by extracting more polyphenols from the grape skins before they are removed. The researchers obtained whole squeezed grapes and incubated them for up to 18 hours in the presence of alcohol before removing the skins. This resulted in a significant increase of white wine polyphenols - up to six times the normal level - and exhibited antioxidant activity similar to that of red wine. The result was so convincing that the Binyamina wine company has begun manufacturing the more healthful white wine according to this technique. The wine, which has the same aroma, taste and color of ordinary white wine, is expected to be sold in the US by the end of 2008. Technion medical faculty researcher Prof. Michael Aviram who was involved in the research commented that "white wine, unlike red wine, does not contain the grape skin polyphenolic antioxidants as the skin is rapidly removed after grape squeezing. By using wine-derived alcohol, we were able to extract the grape polyphenols very rapidly during white wine preparation. There has been an incredible response from those that have heard about the research with many thinking of taking up drinking white wine more seriously."