When I received the exciting news I opened a bottle of 2008 Stonyridge Larose in celebration. Red wine was good for you!!! I conveniently missed the memo at the end that it was in moderation. Several years on we know the fabulous benefits that this gift from the gods offers – hello antioxidants, polyphenols, and resveratrol. Now there is even more reason to drink ‘vin rouge’ and ditch your Pinot Gris – it has been found to help with the prevention of many neurological diseases. New research has proven that red wine has incredible benefits to your brain via your gut. They discovered that when red wine passes through the gut, it leaves compounds that protect neurons from getting damaged or killed off. When the neurons are protected, there is less of a chance for developing conditions like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease
Now that I have stopped kidding myself that a bottle of red wine a night is good for you, I have some solutions on how you can get the benefits without the hangover. Here is my week on the red wine trip of alchemy.
Day 1. Red wine benefits to sip on
I wasn’t going to miss out on getting just the health boost- I wanted the taste too, plus a little alcohol buzz. Lucky for me my great friend Jules Matthews manages one of my most favourite drops – Q Wines. In 2002 owner Jules Stephan got the opportunity of a lifetime when he was able to obtain a block of land in the Waitaki Valley, an area where sheep farming held sway up to that time, but which had the clear potential to produce exceptional wines. Q has grown to international fame and is now loved in top restaurants around the globe thanks to Jules and her passion for wine and food.
As I have decided to stop drinking white wine and stick to our hero, red, I needed some advice on what variety to serve with certain foods. For me red wine has always been associated with winter, roaring fires and hearty fare in the form of red meat so now it was time to change that thought pattern and learn a little bit more about my new best friend.
Fish is high on our family menu keeping with my mediterranean diet. Jules gave me some great advice and suggested a Pinot Noir as it is a medium-bodied, low tannin wine with a blend of red fruit flavours and earthy, mushroom like notes which works beautifully with fish, especially oily and rich fish like salmon. As she said “Pinot Noir it is a very versatile wine and also can work well with chicken”. Merlot is also a good and for more sweet and spicy chicken dishes a Shiraz, Grenache or Zinfandel is a beautiful match. Such a treat to be given a bottle of their incredible Pinot Noir and now the challenge to not have any more than two standard glasses. More on that later!
Day 2. Red wine benefits for your skin
Ok so soaking in a bath full of red wine is not going to make your skin younger, it will if anything, dry it out and give you a few extra lines so best way to get the benefits is to look for skin-care products that utilize it as an active ingredient. Reversatol from the grape skins is a super power and the seeds are an excellent source of vitamins C and E, as well as antioxidants known as flavonoids, all of which may improve skin’s texture and reduce the signs of aging. Crushed grape seeds, grape seed extract and even other parts of the grape to help you reap these and other rewards.
This is when it is even more beneficial having a friend in the wine business – you get to have their Grape Skins and Seeds – otherwise known as ‘Marc’. So of course with my other love – natural skincare I concocted my own face mask. You too can make one!
Charlottes Red Wine Face Mask
What you will need
Ground Grape Marc
Simply mix it up and apply on your face. Leave it for about 15 minutes then gently exfoliate your skin to get full benefits. Wash off and glow!
Day 3. Red Wine benefits for cooking
Katrina Horton, another girlfriend of mine, is abstaining from Alcohol for 2-3 months – full admiration to her. I also have several friends that have ‘kicked the booze’ completely. I do look upon them in awe as I find that even going a few days without a glass of wine is tough. More and more people these days are choosing not to drink and it has almost become the new cool. For me personally, food without wine just feels so wrong, however if it was for my health I could give it up as long as I was still able to taste it. There are a few options now available for wine without the alcohol, although are not the greatest taste! Another option is to cook the alcohol off. You still reap the benefits without feeling lousy. What better way to do this is in a delicious dessert. Katrina rose to the occassion with her Poached Pears in Red Wine. For this stunning recipe click here
Day 4. Red Wine Love Potion
I have always had this romantic notion to concoct a ‘love potion’ so now was my opportunity. My buddy Google helped me to find a recipe from Stephanie Tourles who has written a book on Love Potions https://www.stephanietourles.com/making-love-potions
Here is one that I thought tied in beautifully, had some extra special benefits, and you only need a thimble full as it is powerful stuff!
Schi-Zaam Schisandra & Ginseng Harmonizing Herbal Wine
Yields 9 servings
This delectable red wine infusion of five-flavoured schisandra berries and ginseng root is an adaptogenic, restorative tonic brew that, with regular consumption, will help harmonize your physiological systems to increase your resistance to the damaging effects of disease and stress, build core energy and stamina, boost sex drive, enhance cognitive function, improve cardiovascular health, and promote longevity.
1 bottle fine red wine, preferably organic
- Combine the schisandra berries and ginseng roots in a one quart canning jar.
- Pour the wine over them, to within a half-inch of the top. Wash and save the wine bottle—you’ll need it as the final storage container.
- Cover the jar with a piece of plastic wrap and screw on the lid. Shake the mixture vigorously for 15 seconds to blend.
- Let the brew steep in a cool, dark place for four weeks. Over this time the wine will extract valuable chemical components from the herbs and the flavours will develop. Shake the jar for 15 to 30 seconds each day.
- Remove the ginseng roots, cut them into thin slivers, and set aside. Strain the wine through a strainer or muslin or, preferably, a paper coffee filter. Then strain again if necessary to remove all the herb debris. Press or squeeze the berries to wring out all the valuable herbal extract. Pour the wine back into the original bottle and toss in the ginseng root slivers. Then cap, label, and store in the refrigerator for up to three months
Enjoy a glass of infused wine with your lover. It’s a great way to unwind after a stressful day or use it as a restorative herbal tonic. Definitely love potion number 9.
Day 5. Red wine benefits minus the buzz
The polyphenols found in naturally high concentrations in red grape skins are believed to give rise to the French Paradox. Red wine is shown to have protective effects against heart disease that can largely be attributed to the polyphenols, and particularly resveratrol. The red colouration of grape skins is due to the pigment anthocyanin and is exceptionally good for you. A 5g serve of red grape skin and seed powder will provide the full daily antioxidant requirement necessary for maintaining a healthy diet. As the grape skins and seeds are fermented you are also getting the beneficial levels of resveratrol which are increased through the fermentation process necessary for wine making. Fermented grape skin powder is also a nutrient dense food providing a valuable source of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
My Temple powders that I am developing have a base of grape skin & seed powder. I have made one up for my darling mother and my daughters. India, my baby has been my trusty helper with the drying and preparation process of the magical fruit. Now I just need to find someone to grind 500 kilos!
Charlottes Glow & Renew Temple Powder
½ c fermented grape powder
½ c hyaluronic acid powder
1 c hibiscus powder
3 c berry powder
Jasmin loves to use it in her smoothie bowl.
So whether you drink it, put it on your skin, take it as a supplement or cook with it – celebrate the benefits of Red Wine that you will gain are incredibly spectacular for a Beautiful Mind