Drink to Your Health: How Red Wine Helps the Heart

Story by Liesel Schmidt | Featuring Sonoma Cellar



If you’re like millions of people around the world, you enjoy a glass of wine (or two) at the end of the day. If you reach for red over white, you’re hardly alone. In fact, you should congratulate yourself because—Yay!—you’re doing something healthy for yourself with that flavorful tipple. If fact, there are many studies that show just how good red wine is for you. So feel free to toddle off to the kitchen and grab yourself a bottle and a glass, then drink to your health.


Sip on this: Red wine is made from crushed red or black grapes that are fermented over the course of weeks in oak barrels. Those grapes are the reason that wine is so healthful, packing it with tannins and antioxidants including resveratrol, epicatechin, catechin, and proanthocyanidins. Interestingly, resveratrol protects the blood vessels and prevents blood clots. It also helps regulate blood sugar and lower bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing the good cholesterol (HDL), which means that red wine may help regulate blood pressure.


Convinced yet? Here’s something else that may interest you. Red wine is known to have polyphenols, which help combat premature aging and aid in keeping the blood vessels flexible. That nice glass of red you’re sipping even contains high levels of silicon. This means that it increases bone density and reduces the chance of osteoporosis.

Further studies show (and we’d love to know if part of these studies actually involved drinking the wine, because…sign us up!) that red wine also helps reduce the risk of certain cancers, aids in weight loss, improves dental hygiene, helps with digestion, gives your skin a healthy glow, relieves stress, battles age-related memory loss and lowers the risk of catching the common cold. All this time that you’ve been drinking red wine, you’ve really been doing something fabulously good for yourself.

As healthy as red wine is for your body (especially your heart), there’s also a great deal of pleasure to be gained from drinking it. After all, a good red can taste absolutely decadent, and finding your favorite can be like a treasure hunt. “A bottle of wine is an adventure from the first sip until the last,” says Elizabeth Myllenbeck, who owns Sonoma Cellar with her husband Rick.


There’s also a bit of ceremony involved, and wine has proper handling to bring out its fullest flavor. In fact, the taste of wine changes as it breathes (i.e., opens up with oxygen) or changes in temperature. And as any well-versed oenophile will tell you, red wine should be chilled to between 60 and 68 degrees to provide optimal drinking pleasure and heighten the experience.


Tempting as it may be to pull on your comfiest jammies and snuggle up in front of the television with a big glass of wine to start bingeing on whatever’s in your Netflix queue—and yes, we’ve all done this—wine drinking is a very social activity. As is wine tasting, which gives people of all ages, sexes, and economic status a chance to come together and learn about different wines.


“Wine crosses all boundaries,” says Rick. And over all that swirling, sipping and spitting, there’s also a great deal of laughter to be had.

See? Good for the body, good for the heart... and good for the soul. Cheers to that!

Sonoma Cellar | 207 King St., Old Town Alexandria

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