Wine Club Newsletter - May 2022
New Study Suggests Red Wine Reduces COVID Infection Rates
From Gary . . . I’m doing my part in this . . . (GP)
U.K. residents who drank 1 to 2 glasses of red wine per day had a lower chance of infection
What if that glass of Châteauneuf you're sipping with dinner is also reducing your chances of contracting COVID-19? A new study analyzed health data on nearly 500,000 U.K. residents and found that subjects who drank one to two glasses of red wine a day had a 10 to 17 percent lower risk of contracting COVID than non-drinkers.
Subjects who drank white wine had a 7 to 8 percent lower risk if they consumed five glasses or less per week, while those who frequently drank beer or cider had a 28 percent higher chance of contracting the virus than non-drinkers.
The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, was conducted by a team of researchers in China at Shenzhen Kangning Hospital. They wanted to look at possible links between alcohol consumption and rates of COVID infection and mortality.
They analyzed data from the U.K. Biobank Study, a comprehensive research project that has been collecting health and lifestyle information from nearly 500,000 participants in the U.K. since 2006.
"Adverse effects of alcohol consumption have been widely documented. [But] the observed relationships between alcohol consumption and diseases are often non-linear, with low-to-moderate alcohol consumption being protective and heavy alcohol consumption being harmful," noted lead authors Xi-jian Dai and Yongjun Wang. "Several cohort studies have pointed out that people who have light-to-moderate alcohol consumption survive longer than abstainers."
After analyzing the Biobank data, the researchers found that there was no significant difference in mortality rates from COVID between subjects who drank and those who abstained. But the differences in infection rates were noteworthy.
In addition to the lower rates for wine drinkers and higher rates for beer and cider drinkers, the team found that people who drank five or more hard alcohol drinks per week had a higher risk of infection. And heavy drinking of any alcohol also raised the risk.
A study like this looks at correlation, not causation, so it's unclear why red wine drinkers had a lower infection rate. It could be that other factors are at play: Red wine drinkers may be less likely to suffer from other COVID risks; they may exercise more or have better nutrition; or they may be more likely to be vaccinated.
But the authors suggest that the specific results for red wine compared to other types of alcohol suggest that compounds that set red wine apart from other drinks may deserve the credit.
"Red wine provides additional benefits to other alcoholic beverages probably due to its higher polyphenolic content, by decreasing blood pressure, inhibiting the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein particles and other favorable effects on the cellular redox state, improving endothelial function, inhibiting platelet aggregation, reducing inflammation and cell adhesion and activating proteins that prevent cell death," they write.
The researchers do acknowledge some limitations in their study. The U.K. Biobank is focused on people ages 49 years and older. And the data on drinking habits was collected before the pandemic—changes in drinking habits during the pandemic were unrecorded. The authors call for further study.
Here is a short article on what temperatures you should be drinking your wine. I whole-heartedly agree, that serving a wine too could or too warm can have negative effects on the way the wine both tastes and feels in your mouth. (GP)
Is It Better to Let Wine Warm to Room Temperature Before You Drink It?
Adam Teeter, VinePair
Once you purchase a bottle or glass of wine, it is yours and you should feel free to drink it at whatever temperature you like — whether that’s ice cold, room temperature, or even warmed up on the radiator, as some do in Great Britain.
That said, if you want to experience all that the wine has to offer, it’s important to serve it at the proper temperature, and that’s always some level of chilled, even when it comes to red wines.
Sparkling wines are best served between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Whites and rosés should be 50 to 60 degrees, and reds are best served at cellar temperature (60 to 65 degrees).
At these temperatures, the aromas and flavors of the wine are at their best. Serve the wine too cold and you mute a lot of them, and too warm or even at room temperature and you allow for flavors and aromas of stewed fruit and alcohol to come to the fore.
If you want to ensure you get to these temps without a wine fridge, simply pop room temperature reds in the fridge for a half hour or so before serving. For the fridge whites, let them warm up for about 30 minutes on the counter before pulling the cork. That should get both to their ideal temperature, no fancy wine fridge needed.
Gary Parker, Owner
The WineSellar & Brasserie