Wine Word of the Week: Resveratrol

By Kori ~ March 12th, 2009.

Wine Word of the WeekThis week’s Wine Word of the Week is resveratrol.

Official definition from Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
Resveratrol is the phenolic compound produced by grapevines (and other plants such as peanut and eucalyptus trees), particularly in response to microbial attack or artificial agents such as ultraviolet radiation. It is one of a number of compounds (including catechin and quercetin) found in wine thought to contribute to health aspects of its moderate consumption. …. Red wines have a much higher resveratrol content, usually about ten times, than that found in whites.

Layman’s terms from Kori:
Resveratrol is a naturally occurring compound found in wine that has been shown to provide health benefits such as protection against cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Filed under: Wine Word of the Week

Reader's Comments

  1. Markus | March 12th, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    Hi Kori,

    As a health enthusiast interested in resveratrol research and also being a wine collector, I could not be happier seeing more and more people talking about resveratrol. While the amounts in wine are low, it is the 2nd best source behind a nasty invasive weed called the Japanese Knotweed. (most supplements are made from JK)

    It’s currently being studied by scientists and health professionals for a vast array of age related diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, and cancer treatments. As you mentioned in its natural form, resveratrol is used as a protective agent in plants against various attacks such as heat, drought, and fungi.

    With regards to wine, resveratrol concentration is greater when the vines themselves are severely stressed. When it comes to some of the vineyard conditions across the globe (rock and clay terrains come to mind) the same varietal can have different levels of resveratrol in it.

    It would be interesting to see how much resveratrol is in each type of wine based on region. Perhaps an experiment not worth the costs involved.

    Anyway, great site! Bookmarked!

    All the best,

  2. Kori | March 13th, 2009 at 8:09 am

    Hi Markus,
    Thanks for the additional information. Will be interesting to see results if/when more studies are done. Cheers!

  3. Daniel Morris | March 16th, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Great posts Kori and Markus,

    I’d love to see your wine collection by the way, Markus. Anyway I love this topic as well and somewhat make my living by it.

    While resveratrol is the most celebrated antioxidant in wine these days, there are other that are in higher concentrations. Markus was correct in saying the levels aren’t that high in red wine (though infinitely higher than most other things).

    The clever combination of Resveratrol, OPC’s, polyphenols, bioflavonids, catechins, etc. . . are what really make red wine healthy. And above most supplements, part of the benefit is that red wine is “swished” around in the mouth before drinking which really contributes to the buccal absorption and benefits.

    Long live Red Wine. I’ll be sure to “Stumble” this article. 🙂

    Dan Morris

  4. Kori | March 16th, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Hi Daniel,
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge on this topic and for the “Stumble.” Very interesting to learn that “swishing” is beneficial. Cheers!

  5. Markus | March 17th, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Hi Daniel,

    My collection is predominantly focused on California Cabs & Pinot Noirs. As I only started collecting about 5 years ago I have all of this wine in my cellar and the inability to drink it. Well, I could drink it but I like to think patience is a virtue when it comes to good wines.

    So I look to sites like Wine Peeps to find good currently drinkable wines I can buy locally. I prefer to get wines directly from the vineyard lists instead of paying crazy prices to buy aged wines at auction.

    Some of my favorites are: Justin Iscoceles, Flowers Pinot Noir, Scarecrow, Blankiet Estate, & Rudd Cabernet.

    Keep swishing,

  6. Resveratrol Dosage | April 27th, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Right on !! Damn I’m getting addicted to your blog 🙂

  7. minh | April 28th, 2009 at 2:16 am

    Hi Kori,
    ultraviolet radiation = skin cancer??
    if so then this resveratrol supplement is going to be more than big. I saw it mentioned on Oprah.

  8. Tank Belcher | June 8th, 2009 at 1:29 am

    I look at it like this.

    With the way Gary Vaynerchuk is captivating the hearts and minds and helping turn wine drinking from a conservative, nose-in-the-air snob activity to an everyday for everyperson custom in life.

    May we all drink more red wine and have the benefit of resveratrol, either in wine or by supplement!