Researchers develop white wine with cholesterol-lowering benefits, discover Israeli wines healthier than French wines

HAIFA, Israel and NEW YORK, N.Y., April 13, 2001 Scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have created a kosher white wine with the beneficial effects of red wine. In a related study, they also found that an Israeli wine has more of the health-promoting chemicals than its French counterparts.

Prof. Aviram will present his findings at the New York Academy of Sciences Alcohol and Wine International Meeting in Palo Alto, California, April 26 to April 29, and will publish them in the August 2001 issue of the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.

Researchers have known for years about the beneficial effects of red wine, which has been linked to lower cholesterol oxidation, identified as a major contributor to the blockage of arteries.

The Technion-made white wine contains more flavonoids, the natural chemicals that counteract the damaging effects of cholesterol oxidation. According to Prof. Michael Aviram of the Technion Faculty of Medicine, who headed the research, this was achieved through a novel process.

"We concluded that processing white wine by putting grape skins of chardone or muscat grapes [which are white or yellow in color] in contact with alcohol for a short period helped extract the skins flavonoids, and produced white wine rich in potent antioxidants similar to those found in red wine," Prof. Aviram said. Red wine retains its flavonoids because the grape skins are left on for several weeks prior to the wine preparation.

Prof. Avirams process "may now allow white wine to share the stage with red wine as causative of the French Paradox," notes Dr. Charles Bisgaier, vice president of the pharmacology division at the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Esperion Therapeutics, Inc., referring to the unexpected low incidence of coronary disease among the French despite a diet high in fat-rich foods.

Since the skin of white grapes cant be left on longer than 18 hours without compromising the taste and aroma of the wine

Contact: Adar Novak
American Society for Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

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