How much red wine should you drink?


Wine’s ‘miracle ingredient’, resveratrol, has been shown to have no health benefits.

But Italians still live longer than us. We visit the Chianti region to ask the locals the secret of their happy, healthy lives

The secret of a long and healthy life is somewhere in these hills. Maria Pio Fusi looks out over the olive groves and vines owned by her son in the Chianti region of Tuscany and smiles.

“Our doctors tell us to drink a little wine every day, one or two glasses for our health,” she says, as a pensioner in a place where life expectancy is among the highest in Europe. “Wine is the secret of life.”

Scientists have agreed with this notion for the past 20 years, and even identified a miracle ingredient in red wine that makes people healthier. But now a paper has been published insisting that resveratrol – as it is called – actually has no effect at all.

“Red wine will not make you live longer,” screamed one headline, only months after different scientists said it could help us live to 150. This is confusing enough to make anyone reach for the bottle. So which is true? Is red wine good for you or not?

Frankly, this is a matter close to my heart. As a lover of the stuff, I need to know as much as you probably do. I want to hear what the scientist who wrote that paper has to say for himself. I’m also prepared to pursue this story fearlessly and selflessly all the way to the source – even if it means travelling through a landscape of staggering beauty, among the rolling hills of Tuscany, to reach the little medieval market town of Greve in Chianti, 20 miles south of Florence.


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