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Update On Alcohol Consumption and a Challenge

Posted Oct 01 2012 1:18am

Recent studies have come out adding more confusion for heart attack survivors with regard to wine consumption. A recent small study found that test subjects who drank non-alcoholic wine more effective in reducing blood pressure for men at high risk of developing heart disease. Alcohol, as most know, raises triglyceride levels which for those with heart disease (and those at high risk) is a very bad thing. Plus alcohol can have negative effects with some medications.

Researchers said the health benefits of red wine come from polyphenols, which are antioxidants that also have anti-inflammatory properties. Polyphenols are in the non-alcoholic part of red wine. In the study, both the red wine with and without alcohol contained equal amounts of polyphenols.

The researchers linked polyphenol levels to an increase in the subject’s levels of nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels. Nitric oxide then lowers blood pressure and allows more blood to reach the heart and organs. In the study, it turned out that the men drinking the non-alcoholic red wine had lower blood pressures than those drinking the red wine with alcohol.

It worth noting the study used a very small sample, so the findings are not concrete. That said, it did piqué my interest. What if non-alcoholic (N-A) red wine is someday proven more beneficial? How easy is it to find N-A wine? And once its found,is it any good? I’m mean it’s basically grape juice, but how has the structure of the wine been altered by the method and/or process to remove the alcohol? Interesting questions I’m intrigued enough to explore.


Having read this study I’ve taken on the quest to find non-alcoholic wines and see how they fare. I’ve been an avid wine drinker ever since moving to Northern California. Prior to my heart attack I would take three to four trips annually to Sonoma and Napa along with keeping multiple memberships to wine clubs. Typically I’d keep 6-8 cases of wine at any one time in dedicated wine refrigerators in our garage.

I’m by no means a sommelier, but instead someone who admired the craft and learning about the amazingly complex process of turning harvested grapes into wine. Unfortunately that all changed after my heart attack as I’ve drastically cut back on my wine consumption. My wine collection is now down to 3-4 case as I no longer trek up to wine country anymore and cancelled all but one club membership.

My plan is to report on a new non-alcohol wine every week or so. Even though studies focus on the beneficial polyphenols found in red wine I will expand out to whites and sparkling wine. I’ll document the ease at which to acquire the wine, my tasting notes and if I’m really ambitious give my suggestions for food pairing. I’m looking forward to this challenge as it will test my knowledge of wines but more importantly I hope to find some hidden gems as the holiday season is around the corner. The holidays have always been a difficult time to abstain from consuming wine and having an alternative will be more than welcomed.

Stay tuned for my first report…


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