If you’ve been keeping up with The 100 Year Lifestyle stories of nonagenarians and centenarians, then you know that more than a handful of these healthy agers enjoy an occasional glass of wine. The health benefits of wine, particularly red wine, are well known. But do you know about the superior health benefits of extreme altitude wines?
Not All Wine is Created Equal
Studies have shown that resveratrol, an antioxidant found in the skins of purple grapes, can help prevent diseases including cancer, heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. Tannins and flavonoids, other antioxidants found in red wine, are prebiotic and reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system.
However, not all wine grapes are the same. Not only do different grapes make different wines, but those different wines have different health benefits. While all red wine has some health benefits, some red wines have greater health benefits.
According to Wine Enthusiast, when speaking about high altitude conditions, it means lower temperatures and more ventilation. These conditions then slow the ripening process and preserve acidity of the grapes. In Europe, elevations above 1,650 feet are considered high.
However, the world’s highest vineyards can be found in Australia, Africa, North and South America, and Asia. They range from 4,285 feet above sea level to a whopping 10,922 feet. That’s more than 2 miles above sea level! That vineyard can be found in Quebrada de Humahuaca GI, Argentina.
While the challenges of growing grapes and producing wines at that altitude (or any extreme altitude) are many, so are the benefits. The Malbec wine grown in Argentina endures growing conditions that include low oxygen, high UV, and sudden temperature swings, all keeping the crop continuously on the edge of survival.
This constant stress on the grape activates a part of the vine called the sirtuin pathway, which floods the grapes and their skins with flavonoids. This increase in flavonoids, in turn, thickens and darkens the skins to protect the grapes from the elements, resulting in a wine so dark it almost looks black.
The Malbec from Argentina, when compared to a common California red wine was found to have:
10 times more resveratrol
93% less sugar
80% higher levels of the antioxidant anthocyanin (thought to inhibit tumor growth)
What does all this mean? It means that when you enjoy a glass of extreme altitude wine, the benefits are passed on to you, including activating the human sirtuin pathway, which is believed to play a key role in slowing the aging process and fighting off age-related disease. It’s as if the vines were passing their resilience onto you with each sip!
Perhaps that’s part of the centenarian’s secret to longevity.
A really good thing, just got even better!