Time to Invest in Pinot Noir Futures

by F.

Resveratrol is getting a lot of ink, following a paper published in Nature. The FT has this:

The prospect of a pill that can help people live longer comes one step closer to reality today with the publication of evidence that a compound found in red wine significantly slows the ageing process in mice, regardless of how much they eat.

David Sinclair and his Harvard colleagues fed high doses of resveratrol, a molecule found in grape skins and red wine, to laboratory mice eating a high-calorie diet. Although the animals grew fat, they did not suffer from the diseases of obesity that affected mice eating the same food without resveratrol. Indeed they were as healthy as lean mice on a low-calorie diet.

The researchers believe this could lead to pills based on resveratrol that spare those who over-eat from the ageing effects of obesity. “The [Nature] paper suggests that guilt-free gluttony might not be fantasy,” say Matt Kaeberein and Peter -Rabinovich, of the University of Washington, in an accompanying commentary.

But until the pill comes out, we’ll have to settle for wine:

Grapes – and therefore wines – vary enormously in their resveratrol concentrations, depending on the vines, soil and weather conditions. Pinot Noir grown under stress contains some of the highest amounts, according to Dr Sinclair.

New York wines may have an advantage. According to the Cornell Chronicle,

New York state red wines have higher levels of resveratrol — a naturally occurring substance in grapes that has been found to reduce the chance of heart disease and cancer — than comparable wines from other regions of the world, according to Leroy Creasy, professor of fruit and vegetable science. Creasy recently completed an analysis of more than 100 red wines from five states and foreign countries….

Resveratrol concentration is measured in units called micromolar (µM), and an average red wine could have 3 to 4 µM. Wines above 5 µM of resveratrol are considered high, those above 7 are considered very high and any product above 10 is extraordinary, Creasy said. New York wines used for this study came from Long Island, the Hudson Valley, the Finger Lakes and the Lake Erie regions. The California wines came from the Central Coast, Mendocino, North Coast and Sonoma. And the other U.S. wines came from Mississippi, Oregon and the state of Washington. Countries represented include Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Italy, Slovenia and South Africa.

The average resveratrol content of all New York wines tested was 7.5 µM, compared with 5.8 µM for non-New York reds and 5 µM for California red wines.

The type of wine with by far the highest resveratrol levels was pinot noir, with 11 of the 17 New York wines registering above 10 µM. For pinot noir, the average levels were 13.6 µM for New York, 11 µM for all non-New York and 10.1 µM for California.