Happy National Wine Day!
We love drinking wine, and it's always a win-win when there is a healthy way to do it (or healthier...) Read on for a few of our tips for consuming wine on (in our opinion) one of the best days of the year!!
When buying a bottle of wine, we like to keep in mind the alcohol content and how it is made. When we combine these two factors with the health benefits of resveratrol, we say “hell yes” to a nice glass of vino (and if you're in MN today, get outside, enjoy that sunshine and have your glass on a patio!)!! At a recent event* we took these two amazing “never forget” tips to heart, and it has made our wine enjoyment so much more fulfilling, and healthy.
So other than the obvious, why look for wines with less alcohol? When grapes are still on the vine, their sugar content rises as they ripen. That sugar is what’s converted to alcohol as part of the fermentation process, after the grapes are picked and crushed. In general, the later in the season the grapes are picked, the higher the sugar content, and therefore the higher the alcohol level in the finished wine (1) Not only does the higher sugar result in higher alcohol, but more calories, so we try to tame the mindless calories by choosing a wine with 12.5 % or lower alcohol level. As an aside, we have all been beat over the head about the need to reduce our sugar intake, so we try not to let the wine combat all the work we do to minimize sugar. Plus, the higher alcohol level just gets you drunker, faster and you can’t enjoy the experience. As an example, Dr. Gaffney MD did a simple breathalyzer test and after two glasses of 12.5%-alcohol wine on an empty stomach, his blood alcohol limit was only .05 after an hour. After two glasses of a 15.1% wine, he was over the legal driving limit of .08 after an hour. (2)
We like to think our wine has been grown with the same consideration as our organic food. Why would you eat organic grapes and apples and then drink wine made from grapes treated with pesticides? We certainly try to avoid this. Some liquor stores clearly label their wines as organic or “green”. But, for us, it is so confusing when you see rows and row of options and try to ensure you are getting a clean wine. A good bet is to choose old world wines. Their agriculture practices are just naturally cleaner than ours are in the U.S. Where we try really hard to grow organically, that has been their natural practice from early on.
We all know that wine, especially red wine, provides a natural source of antioxidants, resveratrol (from red) and tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol (from white), but we also get phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. Red wine tends to rate higher overall in health benefits, but white still provides small amounts of micronutrients. Caveat, we still think whole real veggies and fruit are the best source of our micronutrients. And, we believe in the one glass a day rule, with an exception or two for special occasions!
*We qualify all this by admitting we know enough about wine to be dangerous. However, if you want the real deal, the best advice, tips and wine expertise can be found by following our pal Leslee Miller @amuseewine. She is a Certified Sommelier who is wicked smart and loves to share her vast knowledge in a way that is approachable and fun. Hop on over and give her a visit, if you are in the Twin Cities we would love to see you at one of her many events (they are listed on her page here)