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Latest international discovery: the therapeutic features of Muscat

The recognized health benefits of red wine are also present in Binyamina`s Muscat Dessert wine (items ##1017, 3006, 4006). This is according to a study conducted by Prof. Michael Aviram, Head of the Lipid Research Laboratory at the Rambam Medical Center and the Technion`s Faculty of Medicine in Haifa, in conjunction with Binyamina`s oenologist.

From time immemorial red wine has been known to contain therapeutic qualities. Several years ago, Prof. Michael Aviram conducted a study on the relationship between nutrition, cholesterol and heart attacks in cardiovascular diseases, in conjunctions with Binyamina`s oenologist, in an attempt to scientifically determine the health attributes of wine.

High levels of blood cholesterol are a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. Studies in recent years indicate that the quality as well as the quantity of cholesterol present in the blood determines the risk of heart attacks. Exposure to smoke, chemicals, viruses and bacteria is liable to oxidize and therefore damage cholesterol. A diet rich in certain fruits and vegetables that contain anti-oxidants may offset and even prevent cholesterol oxidation. In his study, Prof. Aviram was the first researcher to show that drinking red wine –but not white wine – inhibits the cholesterol oxidation process due to a substance, found in the skins of grapes used for red wines only, that inhibit the cholesterol oxidation process –flavonoids.

In the making of red wine, compared to white wine, the juice remains in contact with the skin for long periods during the fermentation period in order to maximize color and taste. Red wine is therefore rich in substances that prevent or inhibit cholesterol oxidation. In his study, which was conducted on Cabernet grapes, Prof. Aviram proved that the daily intake of one glass of red wine by healthy people raises their natural ability to counter oxidation. This finding may explain the mystery formerly known as the "French Paradox", whereby, despite a significant intake of cholesterol-rich foods, there is a low incidence of heart disease among the French.

Several years ago, Binyamina`s oenologist suggested that Prof. Aviram check the possibility of extracting the oxidation inhibitors found in the skins of white grapes He offered to find a way that will allow the juice to remain with the skin to enhance the presence of flavonoids without also absorbing its astringent taste, thus preserving the characteristic flavor of the white wine.

Two different methods of wine production were tested whereby contact with the skins was maintained. The one involved Binyamina`s 2000 Chardonnay. Usually the grape skins remain in the juice for a few short hours prior to the fermentation process. The study involved extending this period to eighteen hours. The results indicated a higher percentage of flavonoids in the white wine and a significant increase in cholesterol oxidation inhibitors. Drinking three glasses of white wine would produce the same inhibiting effect as one glass of red wine.

Tests were also conducted using Binyamina`s Alexandrian Muscat 2000. The grapes and skins fermented together for several days with the addition of a high percentage of alcohol. A check of the cholesterol oxidation inhibitors indicated that the health benefits present in one glass of Muscat were equivalent to those found in one glass of red wine.

Conclusion: A high alcohol level and protracted contact between the juice and the skins encourages the extraction of the health substances – the flavonoids – from the grape skins thereby significantly inhibiting cholesterol oxidation.

Binyamina`s Muscat Dessert wine has been produced using this method since 1998. It has been a consistent winner of awards for the quality of its taste and in recent years has won scientific recognition for its health benefits.


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