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24/03/2009

Making wine drinkers happy - and healthy

The Murray Pioneer, Friday March 20

Riverland winemakers must start thinking 'healthy' or risk being caught flatfooted by recently released drinking guidelines, a leading wine expert has warned.

Sydney doctor and wine specialist Dr Phillip Norrie has called on the wine industry to produce more healthy drinking options to promote the benefits of moderate drinking,

The warning follows the release of the National Health and Medical Research Council's (NHMRC) new drinking guidelines, which recommend women and men drink no more than two standard drinks a day during their lifetime, if they want to reduce alcohol related injury or disease.

Norrie said the new guidelines highlighted the need for winemakers to develop healthy options as people place greater emphasis on their well-being.

“While the positive effects of moderate wine consumption have long been documented, we are seeing guidelines that seem to take an overly cautious approach to recommended drinking levels,” Norrie said.

“It's clear the industry needs to be coming up with better wines, with stronger health benefits to ensure that drinkers can enjoy their wine and experience the health benefits.

“A good example of this is resveratrol enhanced wine, which effectively acts as a vascular pipe-cleaner when consumed, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke amongst moderate drinkers.”

Angove's Winery managing director John Angove said he was always striving to produce high quality, healthy wine.

“We are always (working) on quality improvement,” Angove said.

“In other words producing better wines, showing more of the characteristics of those wines, and invariably producing better wine and wines that are better for you.”

“The NHMRC's reduction in their recommended daily intake is just their recommendation.

“People will find their own comfort level, but the industry certainly does not support excessive drinking in any way shape or form.”

Angove said wine contained many beneficial characteristics, but dismissed the idea of enhancing those features artificially.

“Wine is a very natural beverage,” he said.

“It does contain good levels of antioxidants, resveratrol being one of the key ones.

“(But) I don't think I support the artificial increase in resveratrol levels because wine is a natural product and wine in moderation is good for you.”

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