Phenols Tannins and Pigments

Among the most important naturally occurring substances in grapes and musts are the phenolic and polyphenolic compounds. Some phenols can also be introduced into the wine following aging in wooden casks or via yeast and bacterial metabolism.These chemically diverse compounds contribute color, flavor, aroma, and mouth feel to the wine. They can also react with other grape components and can either improve or diminish wine quality. Finally, many of the phenolic compounds found in wine are thought to be responsible for the putative health benefits associated with wine consumption (Box 10-3).

The phenols important in wine are grouped according to their chemical structure (Figure 10-2). Phenols containing a single phenolic

Box 10-3. L'chaim! Healthful Properties of Wine

However one says it—L'chaim! Salute! a Votre Santé! Cheers!—all are usually said just prior to consuming wine, and all meaning the same thing—to life and good health. But is wine simply a symbol for expression of this sentiment or might there be an actual scientific basis to support the healthful properties of wine? Let's examine some of the epidemiological, as well as mechanistic, evidence collected in recent years.

Epidemiology

If drinking wine promotes health or well-being, one would expect that residents of countries where wine consumption is high would live longer. Rates of heart disease and cancer would also be expected to be lower in those countries compared to countries where wine consumption is less. Indeed, there has long been the suggestion, based on international population com-parisons,that moderate wine drinking is good for one's general health (Figure 1).

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