Red Wine and Health: Approaches to Improve the Phenolic Content During Winemaking

There is plenty of evidence to support the benefits to health of drinking red wine because of its richness in phenolic compounds. They are the solutions to enhance your state of health and prevent illnesses, with the use of processes that allow more efficient extraction and longer-term stability of phenolic compounds in the preparation process a crucial aspect. The first section of this review outlines studies that have been conducted, mainly at the preclinical stage, of the mechanism by that phenolic compounds function on the human body, benefiting from their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic, antitumor, antiatherogenic, and antimicrobial properties, as well as antiviral and various other functions. Although introducing grape-derived components into the must or wine occurs during the winemaking process, introducing new techniques may increase the number of phenolic substances in the final wine. Sure of, these techniques have been tested on a large scale. In some instances, they’ve been included in the International Code of Oenological Practices by the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV). In this regard, the second section of this review focuses on using these innovative techniques that could boost, or at a minimum preserve, the polyphenol content. For instance, before fermentation in the pre-fermentative stage, phenolic extraction could be enhanced by treating fruit or must using the highest pressure, high pulsed electronic fields (PEF) or ultrasound (US), and Ozone or e-beam radiation. Yeasts with increased production of proanthocyanins and their precursor molecules, low polyphenol absorption, and low anthocyanin-b-glucosidase activity can be used at the fermentative level. At the post-fermentative stage, aging-on-lees (AOL) could contribute to maintaining the levels of polyphenols and, consequently, passing on health benefits to consumers.


In recent times the consumption of foods high in bioactive compounds that have been associated with the prevention of certain illnesses and has been gaining importance. Red wine is among the food items that have sparked increased interest, and numerous studies have been conducted to understand the mechanism of action and the possible benefits for consumers’ health. A majority of the health benefits are attributed to phenolic compounds that are typically classified as flavonoids (anthocyanins and flavanols) and flavonols, among others) in addition to non-flavonoids (stilbenes and phenolic acids, among others) ( 12). These compounds are believed to have antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory, antitumor and anticoagulant, antiatherogenic, and antiviral properties in addition to other benefits ( 1– 4).

Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties are the basis for many of the actions that protect phenolic compounds. Antioxidant activity was observed, for instance, in red wine that is not alcoholic by increasing the catalase activity superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione reductase (GR) enzymes ( 5) as well as raising the production of the nitric oxide (NO) and associated lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases ( 6) This is an interesting study.

Quantitatively speaking, the most abundant polyphenols are anthocyanins. They are mostly found within the grape skin and comprise 50-60 percent of the phenolic component ( 78) and flavanols which are found mostly in the stalks and seeds ( 8).

Another group of interest, from a qualitative point of view, is the stilbenes, mainly resveratrol (trans-3,4′,5-trihydroxystilbene) and its glycoside, polydatin (9), to which a large part of the protective effects against various diseases are attributed (4, 6, 8, 9).

Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Activities of Phenolic Compounds

Phenolic compounds can help prevent the oxidative damage caused by free radicals, which could create damage to protein and carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids ( 1011). Polyphenols may produce lesser reactive substances ( 12) by capturing electrons that are unpaired in free radicals. They also assist in the chelation of Fe as well as Cu ( 13), which prevents the formation of new free radicals.

The other mechanisms are the disruption of the autooxidation chain reaction, the deactivation of singlet oxygen, the reduction of nitrosative stress, the activation of antioxidant enzymes, or inhibition of the oxidative enzymes ( 10). The synergy between antioxidants can also be a factor, e.g., between tannins ( 14) or between compounds and tannins like quercetin or the resveratrol ( 15).

The chemical structure of the chemical has been proven to affect antioxidant activity. For instance, it is evident that there is a higher quantity of hydroxyl (-OH) groups in epicatechin gallate and epigallocatechin gallate, in comparison to other non-galloyl tannins (catechin and epicatechin) ( 14) as well being the existence of methoxyl (-OCH3) groups within the B-rings that is composed of anthocyanins ( 16).

One of the most studied compounds is resveratrol, which has been shown capacity to inhibit the so-called “oxidative burst” (production of O2- and H2O2), to inhibit the expression of NADPH oxidase, to inhibit the uncoupling of the endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) (17-19), to regulate catalase, superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione reductase (GR), glutathione-S-transferase (GST) and NAD (P) H: quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) activities (20), as well as to induce endogenous antioxidant defenses such as the nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2) pathway (21). This pathway controls expression of the inflammatory biomarkers that induce NO synthase and interleukin 6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factors alpha (TNF-a) ( 22) and TNF-a (22), and also the neuroinflammation of microglia and their function when Parkinson’s disease is present ( 23).

Free radicals like reactive oxygen species (ROS) can cause an increase in the amount of mediators that cause inflammation, such as cytosine TNF-a which can then cause an increase in levels of oxidative stress. This is an inflammatory cycle that is responsible for the development of diseases like cancer, atherosclerosis, and neurodegenerative disorders, in addition to other conditions ( 42224). Figure 1 provides a summary of the primary antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that red wine polyphenols have that have been reported in studies conducted previously.


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