Regular, moderate consumption of red wine is linked to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and to lower overall mortality, but the relative contribution of wine's alcohol and polyphenol components to these effects is unclear. Here we identify procyanidins as the principal vasoactive polyphenols in red wine and show that they are present at higher concentrations in wines from areas of southwestern France and Sardinia, where traditional production methods ensure that these compounds are efficiently extracted during vinification. These regions also happen to be associated with increased longevity in the population.
R. Corder, W. Mullen, N. Q. Khan, S. C. Marks, E. G. Wood, M. J. Carrier1 & A. Crozier. Oenology: Red wine procyanidins and vascular health. Nature 2006 November