As a nutritionist, I frequently get the questions and comments about alcohol… Is wine good for you? Doesn’t it have sulfur? Too many sulfites? Organic tastes horrible!
It’s important to evaluate all sides and ask people in the field of wine-making to truly understand these questions. Therefore, my nutritional recommendation comes from a Master. The results differ from most of the health advice.
Honestly, it has always been strange that this is such a controversial subject. As with all things, too much of anything is NOT good. Here are some thoughts and learnings from tours I’ve learned over the years.
A Little Wine is Good for the Stomach!
There will be nay-sayers, but we have to each find what works. There are allergies, alcohol addictions, and side effects, so this is not good for you. Please note that people are also addicted to sugar and bad food which causes disease and kills. So everything in this article is for moderation and those without allergies and addictions.
Sulfur serves a purpose as an essential macro-mineral. Think, penicillin comes from this element. One reason for sulfur is to kill Lactic acid bacteria.
Although Lactic acid bacteria is a great bacteria for sauerkraut, it is not good for wine. When it overtakes or rather metabolizes in a wine, it becomes very vinegary. Therefore a reduced sulfite is optimal but it becomes undrinkable a couple of days after opening. Two days after opening it becomes more like apple cider vinegar! I write this knowing full well that some of you are going to test this; remember I warned you!
Is red or white better?
Well, the short of it is that RED wine is generally better. Red Wine:
- Naturally has less sulfites. The skin is left on for the fermentation process and the “skin holds most of the nutrients”. Sound familiar? It’s what my mom use to say about every fruit and vegetable.
- Has MORE antioxidants which kills Free Radicals. I would rather sip a glass of wine than take a supplement!
- The antioxidants called Resveratrol are high in red wine.
- The pH of red wine is around 3 acidity level (stomach acid is 1), which helps those gastric juices mix and digest food in the stomach, therefore,
- Acidity in red wine aids digestion, which from my practice seems a real need in most people.
- By default, the white and sweeter wines have LESS antioxidants and therefore require more sulfites added in the production process. Therefore sulfite allergy sufferers may tolerate a red wine better.
Great TIPS from a Master of Wine**In case you are wondering; a Sommelier is certified for hospitality/presentation, where a Master of Wine is certified in the production both. Both are certified to taste**
1. The more acidity and tannin, the longer the shelf life, thus the more harsh the wine tastes initially. However, it tastes better after a few days. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Italian red wines fit here.
2. In 12-18 hours after opening, Pinot Noir taste like vinegar. Whites and sweets last longer because of a high superficial additive of sulfites!
3. If you LOVE white, white and sweet wines, one trick is to simply get a copper rod, Copper Rod, and cut to 4 inches long. Stir for a few seconds in the glass of wine. It attracts the sulfites and removes much of it. Interestingly, in Sanskrit, sulfur is called shulbari, which literally means “enemy of copper”.
My great Source for more learning is Understanding Wine Technology by David Bird.
My Recommendations for Drinking Wine
- When possible, drink a glass of wine with dinner – especially when eating out! It will help kill pathogens
- Try to drink 2 glasses of water for every glass of wine to alleviate the diuretic effect of dehydration. Please drink filtered or glass bottle, here’s why.
- Don’t worry too much about “organic”, it taboo/insulting in the wine industry. Most are organic because if you spray, it means that you have not managed your vineyard well and the wine will taste shoddy and usually thrown out.