Is Wine Good For You?

Wine grapesIt can be said that wine is part of French diet. Wine is served at every meal (except breakfast) and it is as common as the jar of water on every table. This is especially true for France, Italy and Spain. The three biggest wine drinkers of Europe.

For anyone that doubt the health qualities of wine, you should know that for an adult, to consumed wine (with moderation of course) it’s much better for you than any dark soda or milk.

One of the most known property of wine is that it’s good for your heart. The cholesterol that blocks arteries is low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDP). This is cleared from the blood by high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HPD). Both are carried in the blood. Moderate consumption of wine produces a better balance between the two because of it’s anticoagulant effect.

Until the 19th century, before drugs took over, alcohol beverages such as wine was a normal part of medical treatments. It has now been proven that moderation consumption of wine such as 1-2 glasses per day can be instrumental to your good health.

I have always been a lover of wine, especially red.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I had an early introduction to wine due to the fact that my mother was sent to live living with one of the biggest wine maker of the Beaujolais region for safety during WWII.

Some History about Wine

Wine has been part of human life for almost as long as we have been a civilized society.  It’s not known when exactly the first wine was made, but we do know that wine has been here since around 5000 B.C.

Wine is a food, a medicine, and agricultural crop and even a religious symbol. And most of all, wine is a delight for the palate of the “connaisseurs”.

Besides being a drink to enjoy and a medicine, wine is also a way of life and a living for wine makers. The difference between a dry sunny summer and a wet cool one can make all the difference for the profit or the lack of it for wine makers. A good year for a wine can also mean long term fame for the wine and the region where it comes from.

Wine was so common in Europe that it also became part of religious ceremonies for just has long as this alcoholic grape juice exists. The ancient Greeks even assigned wine its own god, Dionysus (also known as Bacchus).

Wine Harvesting

Wine Harvesting

Number One Wine Producer

If you say the word “wine”, most likely people will think of France. If you are in France, most likely you will be offered wine at one point or another. Very few tables in France are set without it. It’s like the country is totally related to this fermented grape juice.

Just like America is best at producing the great basket ball players or Italy the best pasta, France is the best at producing wine.  Wine is produced all through the country from Champagne, Alsace, Loire Valley, Bordeaux, Rhone Valley, Bourgogne, South-West, Languedoc Roussillon and Provence.

Even other wines that are now famous have started as imitation of some French wines. Cabernet Sauvignon sprang from some flavors of red Bordeaux. Chardonay and Pinot Noir you are drinking from your grocery store were inspired by French Burgundy, and countless of sparkling drinks where inspired by the one and only Champagne.

Do regions make a difference in wine taste?

The only answer to this question is a reasoning, YES! As a matter of fact each wine in France are called by the region there were produced in. Bordeaux, Beaujolais, and Champagne, are all regions which gave their name to the wine made there.

Are all vintage the same for its respective region?

The answer is, NO. the vintage is the year in which the wine was made. A good vintage is a year in which generally good wine were made in that region, due to excellent climate for the vines for that year, and a bad vintage could be a bad year for any wine region.  For example, 1975 was an excellent year for Beaujolais wines, and it become even better as it matured as time went on.

French Wine Classifications

Many people are not very clear on wine classifications. France and other European countries have a very strict classification which includes gape variety, methods of growing and methods of making wine.

Appelation d’Origine Controlee (AC or AOC). (origin controlled wine) These are top grade French wines where producers may only grow certain grape varieties in each area, and yields per hectare are regulated.

Vin Delimite de Quality Superieure (VDQS) (specific wine of superior quality). A junior wine which includes only for one percent of French wine.

Vin de Pays (country wine). Less regulated wines that are supposed to have the character of their region. This category allows wine makers to make the wine they want and like.

Vin de table (table wine). The most basic French wine where the label won’t state the region where it was made, because more times than not it’s a blend of several regions. It is usually not the best of wines.

How To Store Wine

Of course you don’t have to have a cellar to properly store your wine, but if you do, it would be the best place in your whole house to store the delicious alcoholic juice. In the house where I grew up we had a nice size cellar where my mother stored about 200 wine bottles at the time.

Of course they were mostly Beaujolais Wines. Even if you don’t have a cellar, here are key points to store your wine properly.

Wine is best to be stored lying down. This allows the cork to keep wet, which keep it expanded. When the cork is as expanded as it should be, it prevents air to get inside the bottle. Air would oxidize the wine.

2) If you want your wine age slowly, keep it in a cool place. The cooler your cellar the

3) Store you wine in a dark place. Wine left in the sun light will deteriorate very rapidly. This is why wine is kept in dark caves and wine bottle are mostly made of dark green glace

4) keep your wine in a humid place. Humidity keeps the corks from shrinking and the cork is the life saver for the liquid that it keeps from any outside elements.
French Vineyards

French Vineyards

The Vineyard

Ah, the vineyard! There would be no wine without the vineyard. The vine is a rather fragile plant, and there is as much care to be taken of the vineyard, as there is of the wine since the quality of the wine depends on it.

To make the perfect wine, the vineyard has to be on the right type of soil, the right direction and angle of the slope, getting the right amount of rain, the right amount of sun, and the right temperature during the day and during the night.

The most important factor when it comes to the vineyard is the climate in which it is located. This is the most influencing factor for the many differences in the varieties of wines. Just like any other fruit, grapes need lots of sun to grow to maturity and taste as good as they are meant to be.

Not enough sun will make a “green” flavor wine, where you would actually be able to taste the unripe grapes. To much sun, however, will produce too much heat and create a dull wine. This is why places like France which has enough sun, but not to dramatically hot can product a great wine.

Wine makers pray for the perfect weather everyday!  However, the weather in France can have some bouts of ill climates once in a while and some years might be too sunny or too rainy or get an unsuspected spring frost or hail that are all subject to jeopardize the vintage.

The Importance of the slope

As a rule vineyards are planted in such a way, so they will get the most sun in an angle facing south. When the terrain makes it possible, some vineyards are planted in very steep slopes that are looking like veritable hills more than fields. This allows the water not to sit a the foot of the plants and drown them.

Varieties of soils

Just about every wine region in France has its own soil. Beaujolais is known for its granite soil, Bourgogne (Burgundy) and Loire have a more chalky soil. Pomerol and St. Emilion grow on clay soil and Cabernet Sauvignon on gravel.

Region, location, climate and soil all make wine taste the way it does.

Black Grapes

Black Grapes

Grape Varieties

Red grapes

Some pretty famous red (also cold back) grapes are; Cabernet Sauvignon, which makes an elegant wine as well as very intense. Merlot, which makes a juicy and fruity wine and higher in alcohol than Cabernet Sauvigno.   Pinot Noir makes a silky wine and Shiraz which makes a spicy and rich wine.

White grapes

Among the white grapes the most known are, Chardonnay, the favorite white grapes the world over which give a buttery, nutty and lemony flavored of a wine. Muscat Makes a rich, sweet, floral and dry wine. Sauvignon Blanc makes a wine with aromas and flavors of gooseberries and asparagus (I know sounds weird), and Semillon Make a dry and sweet wine light and lemony wine.

There are many other varieties of grapes both red and white, each make a delightful distinct wine.

Wine Making

Wine Making

Wine-Making

Just like cooks have their own way of cooking and making their signature dishes, winemakers make distinctly different wines as well.

I was fortunate enough to have been acquainted with one of the most famous winemaker of the Beaujolais region who made the best Beaujolais wine there was. Same region, same grape varieties, different winemakers.

Basically speaking, wine is pressed grapes let to ferment in barrels. This is ONLY the basics, though.  There is much more to put into wine making, to make wine not only drinkable, but  Good to excellent.

Every grape variety contains sugar, acid, yeast and flavor compounds. The riper the grape, the more sugar it will contain.The yeast is in other words a form of bacteria.

Good yeast will turn the grapes into wine, bad yeast will turn the grapes into vinegar. The amount of sugar in the grape is enough to create a wine with 12 to 13.5 percent of alcohol. When winemakers want to make a wine higher in alcohol for a stronger wine, they are legally allowed to add up to 2 percent of sugar.

Wines that reach the strength of 15 percent or more will knock out the yeast which has helped create that alcohol, and will make a sweet wine. If there is any unfermented sugar left in in the wine, it will make sweet wine.  If not, it will make dry wine.

Wine makers may use both the natural yeast of the grape (the waxy dust on the surface of the fruit) or cultured yeast. Cultured yeast is much easier to control during fermentation, while natural yeast makes a more flavored wine.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t ever eat my a meal with water. The reason for this is that water washes out the taste of food. The great advantage of wine and probably it’s primary quality it that it enhance the taste of food.

This is why certain wines are to be pared with certain foods in order for us to enjoy the best of both. What foods go with what wines? Without going into deep details the basic rules of pairing wine with food is pairing what food goes with red and what food goes with white.

Foods that goes best with RED wine

  • Cheese
  • Pasta
  • red meat
  • White meat
  • Chocolate
  • Potato gratin
  • Beans

Foods that go best with WHITE wine

  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Salads
  • Appetizers
  • Desserts

I hope you enjoyed this wine review and will understand wine better after having reading this.  So, let us know. How much do you know about wine and are you an amateur of wine?

Ouch that French accent doesn’t sound too good to me, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!


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25 Comments

  • Carol LynnTwitter: carollynnrivera says:

    Wow, Sylviane, I didn’t know you were such a wine connoisseur. I only know a few things about wine, like that you should store the bottles on the side. (I wish it was that easy, usually they just go into the kitchen cabinet!) I know there are also special regions in France and that you can’t call champagne champagne unless it comes from that specific region of France!

    Here’s what I do know: I do like wine! Red, white, you name it. I don’t really have a favorite and I like to try a lot of different kinds. Last year I went to a wine expo in New York where I got to spend 4 hours tasting wine and eating good stuff like cheese. That was a lot of fun.

    So the coolest thing I learned from your post today was about how the vineyards are laid out in a special way to make sure the water is in the right place. The whole process sounds very delicate and like a lot of work. It’s pretty amazing that people can make wine at all. Thanks for sharing some great info here now I want to pour some!
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    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Carol,

      I’m liking the fact that I see all you gals so far like wine. Hope I can get a guy or two comment here and see what they say 🙂

      I agree with you, I think it’s a miracle that people can make wine at all from those grapes. It’s really an art, you know. I’ve learned that early on in my life as my mother knew personally a few winemakers of Beaujolais region, and some were making better wine than others or different from one to the other in the same very Beaujolais region.

      Like you, I like all wines in general, but my favorite goes to the dry red. I love wine, I’ve been drinking it all my adult life 🙂

      Thank you for your input on your personal story about wine.

  • AdrienneTwitter: adriennesmith40 says:

    Wow, what a wonderful lesson we all got today Sylviane!

    I love wine but I’m more of a blush or Zinfandel kind of girl. I’ve never really cared for red wine but some of it is okay. My problem was that I like to drink it cold and I’ve been told throughout the years that it’s an insult to drink red wine cold. That’s why I don’t care for it because I can drink it at room temperature. I also prefer the sweet and fruity flavors and I can’t stand dry wines.

    Now my granddad was totally against alcohol because his father use to overindulge. But once he got to a certain age his doctor told him to have a glass of wine before bedtime and it would help him sleep better. So my grandmother gave it to him and told him it was grape juice and he believed her. He slept like a baby after drinking his wine.

    I’ve been to California before to the wine country and it was fascinating to go through the wine making process. It’s definitely an art and a very expensive one at that.

    ~Adrienne
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    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Adrienne,

      I am glad that you brought up the subject of that ridiculousness room temperature thing. So first of all I am like you, Adrienne, I do not like wine at room temperature. Never have. I like it from the fridge and I disagree that’s an insult to the wine.

      Now, let me tell you something about that! Those who are saying that are mere parrots that repeating what they’ve been told. Now, let me tell you where that “room temperature” thing comes from.

      First of all, wine was made in temperate climate countries hundreds to thousands of year ago, and back then there were no heat system in habitations but some type of fire place. Plus the walls of houses where really very thick so in summer the heat couldn’t even penetrate much. So, all in all, what was room temperature back then was rather cool, plus people used to store wine in dark soil ground caves that are called “cellars” here. That’s what room temperature was a merely 50 to 60 degrees maximum. Not the type of temperature we live in today which are 70 to 75 or more degrees.

      So, when you hear those idiots saying that, don’t listen and put your wine in the fridge. For more taste you could take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before consuming and it would be cool and delicious.

      Thanks for bringing that up, Adrienne.

      • AdrienneTwitter: adriennesmith40 says:

        Thank you so much Sylviane for saying that. When I would order it at a restaurant or something they would tell me they don’t have it chilled, that it’s much better at room temperature. I would tell them to each his own and the majority of them would roll their eyes at me. I finally just stopped drinking it altogether because of that. Now at home you darn well bet it’s in my frig. I just like it better that way.

        I appreciate you giving me that history too. Dang those darn people. lol…
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  • Donna MerrillTwitter: donna_tribe says:

    I love this Sylviane.

    French Beaujolais is one of my favorites! I love to serve it with antipasto! When I was reading this I wanted to head down to my basement and open up a bottle, but it is too early in the morning. However, what I can do is open up a bottle of Chardonnay and have a sweet brunch right now!

    Being Italian, wine was always on the table. As a child, I would have wine and water with dinner. Growing up with different wines that accompany different foods, has given me a respect for wine and never over drink. Red wine was a staple in our home unless it was Friday where in our Catholic Culture, we ate fish accompanied by white wine.

    Red wine is good for you! Even my cardiologist recommended a glass of red wine a day! But growing up with it, I already knew the properties of a good glass of red wine and the health benefits.

    I live in Ithaca N.Y. and it is the Finger Lake Wine Country. When looking at the video, it looked similar to the area I live in. Many people come here and say that it reminds them of the French vineyards. It does have that flair about it. It is a whole different feeling you get when you are in wine country.

    Thank Sylviane!

    Dona
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    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Donna,

      I’m going down the comments that this post generated and you are the second one who is a lover of wine. I like that. I’ve never understood why someone wouldn’t like wine! I guess it’s because I love it 🙂 Can’t eat a meal and enjoy it fully without it.

      You bet wine is good for you. I’ve been drinking wine for what? almost 30 years now, and as I was telling Sue, I’ve been healthy all my life. My aunt (my mom’s sister) has been drinking wine all her life too and she is 81 and healthy too. Of course it becomes bad for those who get drunk with it, like anything else in life, but we moderation it’s a juice of health.

      Thanks for you input and telling us your love for wine, Donna.

  • Sue PriceTwitter: suejprice says:

    Hi Sylviane

    Love this post as I too am a wine lover. This is another reason you will love Australia we are wine drinkers. Most Australians I know drink wine every day with dinner. Not lunch here as that is a meal on the run or at work for most people.

    I am familiar with many aspects of the wine industry in France and love French wines. They are too expensive in the main to drink here as they are taxed on import. This is to protect the Australian wine industry. The only French drink we buy for special occasions is champagne. We do not make our bubbly wine like the French. We are not allowed to say champagne anymore because as you know the French won the challenge to stop other countries using it.

    In Australia we have lovely wines too and we have our best regions in Western Australia south of where I grew up called Margaret River. The Barossa Valley in South Australia is good too. Also across the sea the New Zealand wines are wonderful.

    My husband and I had a business raising capital for agricultural projects and we raised funds for some vineyards. I learned a lot about the industry in those years. I used to be on stage talking about it 🙂 I will tell you more one day.

    Thanks Sylviane for a great education on your beautiful country’s wine.

    Sue
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    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Ah, Sue, I’m so glad you are a lover of wine.

      Man, looks like this post generated long nice comments.

      I know that Australia is a big maker of wine too. I often purchase Australian wines here in the US. Even California, Peru, Italy and Spain make good wines as well.

      I’ve been a lover of red wine since the first time I ever tested the drink in Beaujolais Village when I was 8. Of course, I wasn’t a regular drinker at that age, but I sure I’m since my late teens to early twenties. That is why I am a living proof that wine is GOOD for you (with moderation). Until now I’ve never had a health problem in my life 🙂

      I have never ever got drunk, though 🙂 Even though I have been told that I can drink quite a few glaces without even being drowsy or anything. That’s because my body is so used to it LOL!

      Maybe you and me together should write a Kindle book about wines (Australian and French?) 🙂 Just an idea that comes through my head.

      Thanks for you great feedbacks, Sue.

  • Barbara CharlesTwitter: BarbaraCharlesl says:

    Guess I’ll have to start drinking more wine! My cholesterol is high and I would really like to lower it before going on medication. It didn’t know exactly why there were benefits to drinking wine and I’m glad you have enlightened me. It was also interesting to learning more about other wines that may be along the same lines. If you have something interesting to suggest, I’d appreciate it. Thanks for the insight.
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    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Barbara,

      Indeed, wine is good for cholesterol and there are also foods that are good for that such as almonds and other nuts and oatmeal.

      I believe that the healthiest wine is red dry wine. Two half glasses per day is perfect. or one glass a day if you eat only one real meal. Red wine is much better and healthier when consumed with food as opposed to by itself.

      All the people that I’ve known drinking wine regularly all have lived old or are style alive 🙂

  • Neamat TawadrousTwitter: nkeriakos says:

    Hi Sylviane,

    Great educational post about wine. Very informative.

    I got raised up in the middle east where it is all about Beer but not wine so my education about wine is minimal and I am glad to read all about it here.

    But since I came to Canada and I always use wine in my cooking but we don’t drink it much. I think we should after reading the benefits of wine here.

    Thanks Sylviane for such a great educational post. I learned the lesson.

    Be Blessed,

    Neamat
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    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Neamat,

      Well, I hope this post didn’t bore you too much 🙂

      Once thing I came to understand living in the US is that people who didn’t grow up with the wine culture, usually either don’t like it or don’t care much for it, but mostly, well, just don’t drink it.

      In France you are introduce to wine as a kid, often, so it’s in our blood. But, yes, in moderation, wine is very good for you 🙂

      Thank you for coming and reading this post, Neamat 🙂

  • Ivan Price says:

    Hi Sylviane,
    I am Sue Price’s husband and have just read your recent wine Blog which I found very interesting. I have to admit being a fan of wine despite having grown up in Australia which is traditionally looked upon as a Beer drinking nation.
    That, I think started to change from the 1950’s onwards when there were a lot immigrants from the UK and European countries came to Australia.
    As Sue mentioned we have been involved ion raising capital for some major vineyards here in Australia, the largest of these actually has 1,632 Kilometers of trellis on the one property.
    All the best with your blog, no doubt Sue will keep me up to date with your happenings.
    All the best, Ivan Price

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Ivan,

      What a nice surprise to see you here!

      Sue told me that you are knowledgeable with wine and you both enjoy wine. I was telling Sue that in today’s Kindle books world it would be interesting to write a Kindle book about both French and Australia wines. I am a writer so I can do that part easily.

      I do purchase Australian wines here in the US quite often, and I bet it’s not the best, but still it’s pretty good.

      Any way, something I thought about.

      Thank you so much for coming.

  • Sarah Park says:

    I was amazed with the facts I’ve read in this article. I am not really fond of wines and I only drink very occasionally. But a friend of mine advised me to have a glass or two of red wine as this would be healthy.

  • Vianney says:

    Yes, I agree!! And wine is also good for the heart, provided that we drink wine moderately and properly 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • Purnima says:

    Interesting share Sylviane,
    Great tips to store wine . My knowledge about wine was quiet limited prior reading this share. Really liked the list of foods that go with red and white wine.

  • Annie AndréTwitter: annieandrehacks says:

    Amazingly useful and full of information that I did not know. My husband is a big wine snob. We used to live not too far from wine country in California and had so many choices. Here in France same thing but you know what? Wine is a whole lot cheaper here and most of it is great..

    I don’t like wines with a lot of tanins in them. I do like my red wine slightly on the warmer side not cold… But, i like an ice cube in my white wine. i used to put an ice cube in white wine in the US and people would gasp. Here not so much. Anyways, i’ll pass this post on to my husband. he’ll love it..
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    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Annie,

      I’m so glad you and your husband love wine. Funny, you’re the second friend visiting this blog that is passing on this post to her husband. My friend Sue Price’s husband left his first blog comment, ever, on this post!

      I believe that white wine should most definitely drank cold, and myself I like red wine cool or even cold, not warm, even though I know it’s more tasty, but just don’t like it at room temperature which frankly is like 65-70 degrees. Way to warm for me 🙂

      In the end I believe wine should be drank the way we like it, more than by some made rules.

      Thank you for coming here and for your great feedbacks.

  • Samuel Jeffery says:

    This was a very informative article. I’ve been aware of some of the select health benefits of drinking wine for several years and now I know of even more. I find the social aspect of European meals served with wine so appealing. I think there are numerous health benefits to eating slowing, drinking wine and enjoy conversations with friends, as opposed to wolfing down a meal which is something many North Americans are guilty of doing more often than not.

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Samuel, and welcome to my blog.

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post and know about the benefits of drinking wine.

      Yes, in Europe meals are something that people don’t like ot rush, but enjoy slowly. I was shocked how they like to see you go fast in restaurants in the US. In France you can take all the time you want. Being rushed was something I wasn’t used to.

      Thanks for your feedbacks.

  • Lee says:

    Hi
    I will admit I like a glass or two of red wine in the evening after dinner and have always told people about its health benefits but was never quite sure what these were so great info.
    I was also lucky enough to go to the mumm champagne cellars for a tour 2 years ago.great weekend and a real eye opener.

    Great post thanks. Lee

  • Disha says:

    Hi Sylviane,
    This is really amazing post to know more about wine, I hate wine now, yes now. Actually before some year I used to drink wine but after passing some days. I begin to hate wine.

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