Israeli scientists have devised a way to make white wine that boasts health benefits similar to those of red wine, which is believed to help ward off heart disease. Research published last week details a process that yields white wine rich in disease-fighting antioxidants, much like red wine already is.
White wine traditionally is made without the use of grape skins, while red wine is made by fermenting the juice from grapes along with the skins. Grape skin provides red wine with its color, and it also contains the highest concentration of polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants.
Oxidized cholesterol in the blood is deposited in the arteries and can cause blockages and heart attacks. Consuming antioxidants can help prevent this process.
The research team used whole squeezed grapes and incubated them for up to 18 hours in the presence of alcohol before removing the skins. This increased white wine antioxidants up to six times the normal level, and the revved-up wine showed antioxidant activity similar to that of red wine. However, the antioxidant content of the white wine was still just one quarter of the amount in red wine.
There was also one interesting side effect of the process: the wine had the same color and aroma of regular white wine. But the addition of alcohol to the fermentation process produced an increase in the sugar level of the wine, yielding a sweet, dessert-type white wine.
At least one wine manufacturer in Israel has begun making the white wine using the technique developed by this study's laboratory. He said he expects the new white wine to be sold in the United States by the end of the year.
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