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Wine is an agricultural product created by the natural fermentation of sun-ripened grape juice. Yeast induced fermentation converts endogenous sugars to alcohol, and the flavors associated with each wine depend on the grape variety, harvest, and fermentation conditions. While most wines are derived from grapes, fermentation of other fruits and vegetables has yielded alcoholic wine-like beverages. Wine production includes a series of steps including extraction of juice, fermentation, clarification, and aging.


Studies suggest that wine may lower the incidence of cardiovascular disease.

Drug Interactions

Tyramine in certain wines (particularly chianti) may cause life-threatening hypertensive crisis in patients receiving MAO inhibitors concurrently or for at least 4 weeks after MAO inhibitor therapy is discontinued.

Side Effects

Adverse reactions to pure wine are rare. Headaches following the ingestion of some wines have been associated with histamine or tyramine content. Patients with gastroesophageal reflux should ingest wine cautiously because it may worsen reflux. Alcohol consumption is contraindicated in people with viral hepatitis such as hepatitis Band C.


Wine has played an important role in societal development for thousands of years. The first cultivated grapes were grown in Asia Minor around 6000 BC. Arehaeologists have uncovered the remains of a 2600­year-old winery in Israel. Egyptian accounts of wine making date back to 2500 BC. The Bible mentions raising grapes to make wine. Hippocrates (450 to 370 BC) was said to be the first physician to realize the healing value of me. The Romans disseminated the science and art of-wine-making throughout much of the world, and Europe subsequently became the center of wine-growing expertise. Wine-making techniques were kept alive during the Dark Ages by the clergy. Early fermentation procedures produced heavy wines that often were exceedingly sweet. Refinement of the fermentation process resulted in the development of numerous varieties of wines, each with unique flavors and typical alcohol contents. Wine has had a role in societal interactions and many religious ceremonies. The growth of the American wine industry during the 20th century was halted by prohibition (1919 to 1933) but has risen steadily since. Today, almost every state in the US produces wines, with boutique wineries accounting for a growing proportion of the production. Several historical articles discussing the history of wine and wine in the practice of medicine are available.


The chemical composition of wine is varied and complex. A typical wine contains more than 300 components other than alcohol, often containing minerals and vitamins not found in other fermented beverages. Alcohol concentrations may vary from 10% to 14% for table wines and up to 20% for certain aperitifs. While the prevalent alcohol is ethanol, glycerol plus more than a dozen alcohols have been isolated from wines. The polyphenols in wine have desirable biological properties, including phenolic acids (p-coumaric, cinnamic, caffeic, gentisic, ferulic, and vanillic) and trihydroxy stilbenes (polydatin, resveratrol). One Japanese report analyzes resveratrol and piceid (and their isomers) content in 42 different wines. The average stilbene content was 4.37 mg/L in red wines and 0.68 mg/L in white. Wine flavonoids are also present (1 to 3 g/L in red wines, 0.2 g/L in white) and include flavonols, anthocyanins, flavanols (catechins, quercetin), oligomers (procyanidins), and polymers (tannins) of the catechins. Champagnes and sparkling wines contain ≈ 1.5% carbon dioxide. Other wine components include carbonyl compounds, organic acids, tannins, carbohydrates, and esters.


Wine has been a part of civilization for thousands of years. Wines are complex mixtures of flavors and fragrances. They have been used as bever- ages and as the basis for traditional medicines. The correlation between wine consumption and reduced heart disease has been shown in many reports. Other factors do play a role, including amount consumed, smoking, and certain lifestyle habits. Wine has antioxidant activity and ; inhibits clotting by altering platelet aggregation. Other benefits include reduction in anxiety and better absorption of certain nutrients. Adverse reactions to pure wine are rare. Some people may be sensitive to other ingredients in wine.

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