Raise a glass to wine's health benefits 8

Health fads and foods may come and go, but for many, an evening glass of wine is an enduring habit whose benefits extend beyond enjoyment and relaxation.

Studies show that consuming moderate* amounts of all types of alcohol can raise HDL (healthy) cholesterol, reduce blood clotting risk, prevent artery damage caused by high levels of LDL (harmful) cholesterol and improve the function of the layer of cells that line your blood vessels.

Red wine stands out for its high levels of resveratrol – a compound found naturally in the skin of grapes that is particularly concentrated in red wine during the fermentation process. Resveratrol may help control blood sugar, prevent cognitive decline, kill cancer cells (in pre-clinical studies) and even help fight off the common cold. 

For heart health, it’s red wine over white wine or water. In a 2015 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, research participants who drank one glass of red per night with meals significantly increased their levels of good cholesterol, showed a better ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol and a significant drop in the components of metabolic syndrome – the factors associated with heart disease and diabetes. Those who drank either red or white also reported better sleep than those who drank water.

Brett Euritt, co-owner of Stonehaus Farms Winery in Lee’s Summit, says many customers joke about picking up a bottle of red for the health benefits, and that he encourages everything in moderation. Euritt refers to the potential benefits of resveratrol and tannins, but also suggests that when you’re enjoying something you’re probably at a reduced stress level which is also good for your health.

“It’s peaceful to come out to the winery and enjoy the scenery, and it’s peaceful to sit on your back porch and enjoy a glass or red,” he says.

The winery may be best-known for its Vignoles, a semi-sweet white wine rich with honeysuckle that recently brought home the designation of Double Gold in the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, but Stonehaus’ offerings are diverse.

During winter months, drier, fuller-bodied reds and port are popular, Euritt says.

For those seeking a full-bodied dry red wine, Euritt recommends the winery’s Cynthiana. This inky, bold cask-aged red is sourced from Norton grapes, one of the three grape varieties grown on-site at the winery in Lee’s Summit. Cynthiana’s rich flavors of cherry and pecan pair perfectly with steak, smoked meats or barbecue. The Chambourcin, also aged in French oak casks, is a smooth fruity violet-hued wine with a dark cherry and light oak nose that pairs well with rich, saucy meat dishes.

*Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as: Up to one (5 oz.) glass of wine per day for women of all ages and men over the age of 65. Up to two (5 oz.) glasses of wine per day for men age 65 and younger. Source: www.mayoclinic.org