Resveratrol is a type of antioxidant naturally found in grape skin, peanuts, blueberries, cranberries and red grape juice. Red wine is made from grapes and their skin, so it is a good source of resveratrol. White wine is made from grapes, but the skin is removed during production, so it is not a good source of resveratrol.
According to MayoClinic.com, most of the research on resveratrol has been done on mice and there are not many human studies to recommend resveratrol use for health benefits. Complicating this picture are the 2012 allegations of fraud by Dipak Das, who conducted many resveratrol studies. According to the website TheHeart.org, "the University of Connecticut found evidence that Das had fabricated and falsified data in dozens of published papers, many asserting that resveratrol, found in red wine, improved cardiovascular health. The university is in the process of dismissing Das."
Some popular red wines are pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, syrah, merlot, malbec and zinfandel. A study published in 1995 in the "American Journal of Enology and Viticulture" compared various wines from around the world and found that pinot noir wines had the highest content of resveratrol regardless of country of origin.
The amount of resveratrol in wines not only depends on what type of grape is used, but also the region. The 1995 study mentioned above found that wines from cooler regions like Ontario and the Bordeaux region of France had higher concentrations of resveratrol compared to wines from warmer regions like California, Australia, Spain and South America. In particular, cabernet sauvignons from cooler regions, Italian sangiovese wines, Australian shiraz and French burgundy wines had high concentrations.
According to MayoClinic.com, the daily amount of resveratrol necessary for humans to see a health benefit, based on animal studies, can be found in 100 to 1,000 bottles of red wine, so drinking wine is an impractical way of getting resveratrol's benefits -- if any.
The American Heart Association recommends to keep it to one to two alcoholic drinks a day for men and one alcoholic drink a day for women. One alcoholic drink is considered to be 12 oz. of beer, 4 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz. of 80 proof spirits or 1 oz. of 100 proof spirits.
- Mayo Clinic: Red Wine and Resveratrol: Good for Your heart?
- American Heart Association: Alcohol and Heart Disease
- “European Journal of Endocrinology”; Resveratrol, a Phytoestrogen Found in Red Wine. A Possible Explanation for the Conundrum of the French Paradox?; Peter Knopp; 1998
- TheHeart.org: Resveratrol Scientists React to Das Fraud Scandal: "Research Will Continue"