Research says red wine is good for your health – here’s why

Researchers from King’s College London say their new research shows red wine is good for your health. The findings suggest that red wine increases the number of different good bacteria in your gut, which improve general health.

The research team say that the benefits from red wine comes from the polyphenols present. These compounds are still present in cider, beer and white wine, but in much smaller quantities. They’re also found in many vegetables and fruit, which is why they’re so good for you.

Wine is good for your health, but how much should you drink?

Just one glass of red wine every two weeks is enough to make a positive difference to your gut health. The researchers say that it’s about limited quantities of the high levels of polyphenols.

Polyphenols are present in lots of plant foods. The micronutrients are full of antioxidants, which is why they offer health benefits. Current scientific thinking suggests that polyphenols can help improve digestive issues, help to manage weight, control diabetes and improve the prognosis for people suffering from cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative disease.

The polyphenols present in red wine include resveratrol, which comes from the skin of the grapes. They are thought to act as fuel for the useful bacteria and microbes that live in the bowel.

Gut bacteria is essential for good health

Human guts are crammed with trillions of micro-organisms and bacteria. It’s these so-called ‘friendly’ bacteria that work to keep us healthy. A growing raft of research shows that tiny alterations to the microbiota in our gut can make us much more susceptible to illnesses. The common problems associated with this include irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, heart disease and mental health.

If we eat poor diets, have sedentary lifestyles or even take certain types of medication, it’s possible that the fine balance of our gut health can be destroyed. And that’s what leads to illnesses.

The King’s College London study on the possible health benefits of red wine was published in medical journal Gastroenterology. It studied thousands of people and their eating and drinking habits from all around the world. Participants from the Netherlands, the US and the UK, are all twins. During the study they reported on their diet, what they eat, what they drink and what type of alcohol they regularly ingest.

Red wine drinkers show diversity in gut bacteria

Red wine drinkers from the study showed much more diverse gut bacteria than those who drink other alcoholic drinks, or none at all. And the more red wine you drink, the more the good bugs multiply. However, the researchers say that none of the people studied are heavy drinkers.

Just one glass a week or a fortnight, depending on your gut makeup, is enough to reap the microbe advantages of red wine. Needless to say, heavy drinking is not encouraged by the research team. They warn that drinking too much red wine will have a poor effect not only on gut bacteria, but the overall health of the person.

As this is what’s called an ‘observational’ study, it does not prove red wine is good for the gut. However, it can be surmised that if you want to drink something, red wine is probably better for you and your health than other alcoholic drinks.

Researcher Dr Le Roy says that she wants to do further study on people drinking red wine or red grape juice without alcohol. She tells BBC.com: “Gut bacteria is complex, and we need more research. But we know that the more diversity there is, the better it appears to be for our health.”

3 places that make the perfect wine holiday destination

Wine tourism is coming of age. More people are choosing holiday destinations based on their proximity to vineyards and wineries. And while it used to be more ad hoc, with people selecting their own regions, today it’s much more organised.

All around the world, across all kinds of wine regions, vineyard owners have recognised that wine tourism is big business. Whether it’s a stay at a fancy hotel and guided wine tours, or a campsite in the heart of a big wine-loving region, there are lots of options.

Where is the ideal wine holiday destination?

The very first list of the world’s 50 best vineyards is now available. This demonstrates just how far wineries have come from places of business to tourist attractions.

This list is packed with vineyards and wineries from around the world. However, it tends to stick to the bigger producers. Number one on the list is the Zuccardi vineyard, which is nestled in Argentina’s Uco Valley. Complete with beautifully designed wine cellars and the fine-dining experience to go with the wine, it’s spectacular.

And while these big producers are great to visit, they’re not the only options for a wine holiday. Smaller wine producers can be more intimate and welcoming. They often offer different options for accommodation and can guide tourists around the general area with plenty of local knowledge.

Great examples of wine regions with plenty of small producers include the easiest to access wine route in France in Alsace. This is so simple to navigate and is set-up for cyclists and motor tours. Other destinations worth visiting include the Valais region in Switzerland, which is perfect for walkers, or the wine routes of California.

Here are three of the best

 

1. Zuccardi Valle de Uco, Argentina

Now the number one vineyard in the world, this winery complex is elevated by its location with beautiful views of the Andes mountain range. It also has an architecturally sophisticated complex of buildings and cellars. Winemaker Sebastian Zuccardi produces wines that are recognisable from the terroir driven flavours.

2. Alsace wine route, France

Alsace was one of the first wine regions to understand the potential of wine tourism. The vineyards along the Alsace route offer a wide range of delicious wines. The landscape is stunning and rich with history. For cyclists, this could be the holiday of a lifetime.

The vineyards in Alsace are protected by a barrier formed by the Vosges mountains. This creates a unique climate, which produces many extremely rich and aromatic wines.

The Alsace wine route crosses lots of wine districts within the wider region. There is more than 170km to follow, dotted with wine makers of all types and sizes. Depending on the season, the wine route also offers specific events. Throughout the summer, from April to October, many local villages celebrate the wine harvest. At Christmas, there are markets to visit. It offers something for everyone.

3. La Rioja wine region, Spain

At the very centre of this popular wine region is Haro, a town boasting some of the biggest and oldest wineries in the area. There are many wineries to visit throughout the wider Rioja region, and at least 12 in Haro itself that aren’t to be missed. Wine-lovers will enjoy learning about Rioja wine and tasting some of the best vintages available.

You don’t need to get a formal tour in Haro, as it’s simple to find the big wineries yourself. Many are close enough to walk between them, and each winery has its own expert to talk you through production and vintages. Head to the middle of Faro and find your tour from there.

These are just three regions that make fantastic holidays for wine-lovers. With more wineries opening their doors than ever before, wine tourism is definitely here to stay.

 

New survey says wine is the UK’s favourite drink

Wine has officially overtaken beer and spirits as the UK’s favourite alcoholic drinks, according to a new YouGov survey. More than 60% of adults say they prefer a glass of wine to any other alcoholic drink.

 

White wine topped the list, with joint first position going to pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc. Third is Malbec, with Shiraz in fourth, and the always popular prosecco coming in fifth.

 

Why wine is the nation’s favourite drink

 

Two thousand people were surveyed, and results show that 81% say they regularly enjoyed wine over the last 12 months. The wine-lovers just edged out those who prefer beer or spirits, which came in at 79%.

 

The last time wine was voted in as the nation’s favourite drink was in 2015, when a survey by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) showed people aged between 25 and 34 prefer wine to other alcoholic drinks.

 

It’s unsurprising to see that wine is the nation’s favourite tipple, when the UK is now one of the fastest growing wine regions in the world. Thanks to the weather warming up significantly, more than three million vines have been planted across Suffolk, Northampton, Essex and Norfolk in 2019 alone. This is twice the number of vines planted in the whole of 2018.

 

More people drink wine than beer or spirits

 

Two thousand people were surveyed, and results show that 81% say they regularly enjoyed wine over the last 12 months. The wine-lovers just edged out those who prefer beer or spirits, which came in at 79%.

 

The wine industry has been pushing a campaign against Government increases on duty for wine over the last few years. The industry wants Chancellor Sajid Javid to cut duty tax on wine, which has gone up by 39% over the last ten years. However, beer has gone up by 16%, and spirits by 27%, both considerably lower than wine.

 

According to industry experts in an article in The Morning Advertiser, wine duty tax accounts for more than half (£2.68) of the cost of a £5 wine. And according to the WSTA, more than two thirds of UK adults also believe that wine is taxed too highly, and that the Government should cut rates.

White wine comes out as top choice for UK consumers

 

The survey also shows that UK wine consumers are most likely to select a white wine, with 41% opting for a Pinot Grigio as their first choice. Each wine type is broken down by percentage of drinkers who choose it:

 

  1. 41% choose a crisp, fresh white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
  2. 38% prefer a full-bodied red wine, like a Shiraz or Malbec
  3. 34% love prosecco
  4. 24% opt for champagne as their favourite
  5. 23% like their red wine a little lighter, like a Pinot Noir
  6. 22% love a light blush rose, such as White Zinfandel
  7. 17% go for a rich, oaky white – a Chardonnay for example
  8. 16% stick to their roots with an English sparkling wine
  9. 16% love a dry rose, such as Pinot Grigio rose.

 

YouGov’s survey results show that old assumptions about wine being for the middle classes are no longer correct. The social grade C2DE (classified as the old ‘working class’) show that wine is as popular as beer, with 23% saying each is their favourite.

 

Which wedding wines work best for celebrating?

What’s the must have wine for a bride and groom’s perfect day? Well, champagne or prosecco are good choices for the toast, but there are plenty of other choices away from the old favourites that generally include merlot and sauvignon blanc.

 

Of course, it does depend largely on the tastes and budget of the bride and groom, as well as the kind of event it’s going to be. The age group invited, and the size of the wedding also affects what you choose for your wedding wines.

 

Wedding wines don’t have to be boring

 

A smaller wedding of around 40 guests is always going to be easier to cater for in terms of wine than a bigger bash for 200. It’s also worth considering the kind of menu you’re offering. Many of today’s weddings offer a couple of different meals. For example, an evening buffet after the main wedding breakfast is served earlier in the day. Things like hog roasts and barbecues are increasingly popular too.

 

Much of the time, it’s about choosing what you enjoy and what you would normally want to drink. But if there’s any event worth splashing out a bit for, or making a statement, it’s a wedding.

 

Play it safe or take a chance?

 

The main decisions when it comes to choosing wedding wines is whether to play it safe or whether to take a bit of a risk. Safe would mean something like a mid-priced prosecco for toasts, along with a decent Chilean merlot and a cab sauv to go with the meal.

 

And while there is something to be said for getting something in that most people will be happy with, there’s nothing wrong with taking a few risks with wedding wines.

 

If possible, it can add a bit of interest to your wedding drinks menu if you ‘drink local’. This could mean sourcing wine from local vineyards, wineries, or beer from breweries. There are so many smaller, artisan breweries and vineyards across the UK now that there is plenty of choice. And if you’re having a destination wedding, even better.

 

Depending on your wedding venue, drinking local could net you something really special. For example, if you’re getting wed in the south of England, definitely get some English sparkling wine in instead of champagne or prosecco.

 

Choose wines you enjoy

 

For most people choosing wedding wines, it’s not just about getting nice wine, but also keeping the costs down. And while caterers or wedding organisers will always try and persuade you to take on their wine choices, it’s worth checking out whether you can similar wines for less money elsewhere.

However the wine is sourced, remember that it’s only a part of the big day. No-one is going to judge a wedding on whether the wine isn’t their favourite. As long as you get some decent tasting wine, people will be happy.

If you want to enjoy a really special, and very on-brand fizz, go for Bride Valley Brut Reserve. It’s from Dorset and is elegantly light, and with a name like that, what bride could resist? For a summer wedding, you can’t beat a delicate, fragrant rose, like Moonlight & Roses, which is a Coteaux d’Aix en Provence Rose 2018. It’s another romantically named, and stylishly packaged wine, with the classic flavours of a pale Provencal rose.

Why Bordeaux offers the ideal holiday for wine lovers

For wine lovers looking for an adventure, Bordeaux is up there with the best destinations in the world. Bordeaux is located in the south western region of France and is the perfect city to visit for vineyard visits, wine tasting tours and to buy wine.

 

The 18th century part of Bordeaux itself is listed by UNESCO World Heritage as ‘an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble’ and is worth visiting for its cultural offerings as well as its wine.

 

Ideal holiday for wine lovers and non-wine lovers

 

Entertainment in the city is varied and wide ranging. The National Opera of Bordeaux in the fabulous Grand Theatre located in the main square of the city is a great place to start. The theatre dates back to the 18th century and is a stunningly beautiful building, covered in ornate sculptures. More laid-back evening entertainment can be found at the many jazz and blues clubs in the city.

 

Visitors to Bordeaux should all take a trip to at least one vineyard, even if they are not all wine lovers. And for wine aficionados, the city and region form the ideal holiday destination.

 

Combining art and wine at historic vineyard

 

Next door to Bordeaux, in a city called Pauillac, there’s a vineyard that is definitely worth visiting. Chateaux Mouton Rothschild has been making high quality wine since the middle of the 19th century, and today hosts tastings, tours and has a wine museum on site. This vineyard combines art and wine for a cultural treat and offers plenty of wine tastings throughout the year.

 

After the sightseeing and vineyard visiting, it’s a must to visit one of the high-end restaurants in Bordeaux. Try Le Pressoir d’Argent, which is at the Le Grand Hotel. With two Michelin stars and a menu designed by super chef Gordon Ramsay, it’s the ideal way to finish off a trip to this historical and fascinating wine region.

 

Food options for every budget

 

If your budget doesn’t stretch quite that far, then you could take a train ride out of the centre of Bordeaux to Les Halles de Bacalan. This undercover food market boasts loads of delicious food options and has a very relaxed vibe. Just across the road from the market you can find La Cite du Vin museum, where you’ll find all sorts of information and fascinating displays about the region’s most famous export.

 

Bordeaux is easy to get to, with flights every day from London Gatwick run by Ryanair. Easyjet and British Airways. If you can afford five-star luxury, make sure you stay at Le Grand Hotel, which is right in the middle of the beautiful old part of the city. It’s located on the Place de la Comedie, and from the balcony of your room you’ll be able to see the Opera House across the square. The perfect place to enjoy a bottle of delicious wine from Bordeaux itself.