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Wine edges closer to becoming elixir of youth

Wine edges closer to becoming elixir of youth

Good news for wine lovers – having that next glass could feel almost guilt-free.

A new wine label has been released in New Zealand that contains 40 times more resveratrol, an antioxidant found in all wine that’s known to promote longevity and protect against a range of illnesses including cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease.

Derived from grape skins, resveratrol is currently subject to extensive research internationally and is used in skincare products and health supplements worldwide.

However recent studies now show it’s absorbed 250 times more effectively when consumed in wine compared with capsule form.

The new Balancing Act wine range utilises technology developed by Australian researchers that significantly increases wine’s natural resveratrol concentration yet remains soluble and has no effect on taste, smell or colour.

It’s being introduced to New Zealand by Christchurch company Southern Wines NZ Ltd (SWNZ), led by Kathleen Corsbie and Annie Winmill. SWNZ holds the exclusive New Zealand licence to the product which was developed and patented by Dr Phillip Norrie, a Sydney-based GP and medical historian.

Balancing Act wines are made by winemaker Alan McCorkindale and are currently available in a Central Otago Pinot Noir (RRP $24.99) and Marlborough/Waipara Sauvignon Blanc (RRP $19.99). Pinot Gris and Chardonnay will be introduced in the coming months.

The range can be purchased online through the edgy new Murder a Drink website (www.murderadrink.co.nz) and at select New World, Pak’n Save and Four Square stores, Super Liquor, Fresh Choice and fine wine outlets.

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While the naturally occurring resveratrol content in each bottle of Balancing Act gets boosted from an average 1-6mg to a whopping 75mg, Kathleen Corsbie says the wine’s clarity and taste is not altered in any way.

“This is putting something back in that is already there, so we’re not altering anything. Also, the resveratrol we use is 100 per cent natural and derived from grapes, it’s not synthetically produced.

“We can’t say that alcohol is healthy, but we can say that resveratrol is. And there is clinical research to back that up.”

Studies at the Harvard School of Medicine confirm that resveratrol is a free radical scavenger and the only substance known to activate the SIRT 1 protein¹ – one of a group of genes called sirtuins, which are believed to protect against diseases of ageing, promoting health and longevity.

“In the history of pharmaceuticals, there has never been a drug that binds to a protein to make it run faster in the way that resveratrol activates SIRT 1,” says Harvard Medical School professor and lead author David Sinclair¹.

Promising results from ingesting resveratrol have been achieved in trials that show preventative benefits against cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, psoriasis and arthritis – among others. Recent studies in particular have also shown that resveratrol can lower the risk of breast cancer by blocking oestrogen growth ².

“It is an exciting development,” says Southern Wines’ Annie Winmill. “We’ve caught the tiger by the tail. I have spent 27 years in the wine industry, and this is the first time that I have a totally unique and positive product to bring to the market.

“One glass of our Balancing Act wine is equivalent to consuming the resveratrol contained in around 40 glasses of normal wine, so why would you drink anything else?”

Dr Norrie is a strong advocate for drinking wine in moderation, claiming that the medical profession has been using it as a medicine for the past 5000 years ³.

“Besides being man’s oldest medicine, wine is also our best preventative medicine,” he writes in the International Journal of Wine Research, referring to a Copenhagen City Study which showed a 50 per cent reduction in the death rate of wine drinkers compared to abstainers.


1. Science News, March 7 2013: New study validates longevity pathway: Findings identify universal mechanise for activating anti-ageing pathway
2. Red wine ingredient resveratrol stops breast cancer growth, study suggests http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110929103222.htm
3. International Journal of Wine Research 2009:1


Bob Campbell, Master of Wine

Balancing Act Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011: 83/100

“Juicy Pinot Noir with typical cherry and plum flavours. A very typical Central Otago style with a reasonably soft texture and fine, drying and delicately grippy finish.”

Charmian Smith, Otago Daily Times food and wine writer

Balancing Act Marlborough/Waipara Sauvignon Blanc 2012: *** ½

“A fruity wine, oozing ripe fruits – pineapple, mango, melon, passionfruit and kiwi, a hint of mineral, rich in the mouth and with fresh, lively, juicy finish. This is resveratrol enhanced, which does not seem to affect the flavour, though it may add a richness.”

Balancing Act Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011: Best Value, *** ½

“Aromas of spice and ripe fruit – cherries and plums, a lively acidity balanced by a rich, silky texture and a hint of savouriness. This resveratrol enhanced wine contains about 30 times as much of the antioxidant than regular wine.”

Raymond Chan, wine reviewer

Balancing Act Sauvignon Blanc 2012 ****

A blend of Sauvignon Blanc fruit from Marlborough and Waipara fermented to 12.5% alc. Approx. 75 mg of Resveratrol. Brilliant pale straw-yellow colour, lighter on rim. The nose is softly presented and elegant with moderately concentrated aromas of gooseberry fruit and minerals, enlivened by notes of fresh herbs and yellow capsicums. Dry to taste, gentle flavours of gooseberries, capsicums and minerals form a soft-textured, smooth mouthfeel with good depth and presence. The acidity is discreetly crisp and fresh and enhances the sweetness and succulence of the fruit which carries through to a sustained finish. This is a soft and gently succulent Sauvignon Blanc with attractive balance and accessibility. Serve with Mediterranean-styled seafood, poultry, salads and vegetables over the next two years. 17.5/20.

Balancing Act Central Otago Pinot Noir (((

Deep ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues, lighter on edge. This has an elegant bouquet with dark raspberry and cherry fruit aromas that reveal notes of earth, dried herbs and red liquorice in the glass. Medium-full bodied, the flavours of raspberries and red liquorice are a little restrained in expression. The palate has good weight with some alcohol power, and softly firm, grainy tannins lend a dry, driven mouthfeel. There is sufficient acidity for energy, and the flavours lead to a moderately textured finish with bitter cherry notes. This is a soft, textured Pinot Noir with body and drive with subtle, bitter cherry and raspberry fruit flavours. Match with pasta, pork and most red meat dishes. Fruit from the Alexandra Basin fermented to 13.5% alc. Approx. 75 mg of Resveratrol. 16.0/20

Yvonne Lorkin, wine writer and commentator

Balancing Act Pinot Noir Central Otago: ((( ½

“Fruit from the Alexandra Basin was used to craft this super-fruity Pinot Noir. Boosted to 75mg resveratrol it has berry and cherry notes on the nose and a silky mouthfeel. A darn good drink, with a hint of red liquorice on the finish.”

Balancing Act Sauvignon Blanc 2012: ((( ½

“A snappy blend of Sauvignon Blanc sourced from Marlborough and Waipara, it’s had its resveratrol enhanced to 75mg, giving it the same antioxidant levels as the pinot noir. Expect nettles, fresh herbs and gooseberry and capsicum aromas, followed by crisp, tangy, tropical flavours on the palate.”


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