Red wine is a rich source of resveratrol, and contains significantly more resveratrol than white wine. This is because the grape skins are left in with the juice for longer when making red wine, and the skins are where most of the resveratrol is found. The resveratrol content varies considerably from one red wine to another, however. So, what are the best red wines for resveratrol content?
By far the highest resveratrol content (around 40mg/liter) is found in both red and white wines made from the thick-skinned Muscadine grape, which is native to Florida and other parts of the south-eastern United States. Muscadine wine is not widely available outside the US, however.
Other red wines typically contain between 2 and 12.5mg of resveratrol per liter. Of the more popular grape varieties, Pinot Noir produces wines with the highest average resveratrol levels. The Pinot Noir grape tends to thrive in temperate, damp climates which also encourage molds and yeasts that attack vines and other plants. In this humid environment, plants produce increased quantities of resveratrol to defend against oxidization damage from fungal growth and other external pressures. Scientists have discovered that resveratrol has similar antioxidant benefits for the human body.
Pinot Noir from its native Burgundy, France, as well as from Oregon, Washington State or New Zealand generally contains more resveratrol than the equivalent wine from a hotter, dryer area such as California or Australia. Levels will also vary significantly from one vintage to another depending on the temperature and rainfall during the growing period. You don’t need to restrict yourself to drinking Pinot Noir, though – other red wines from cool, damp regions of the world are just as likely to offer good levels of resveratrol. The key to picking a red wine that gives you a decent amount of resveratrol is therefore to know a bit of geography.