|Wine and Health
"Good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used" (Shakespeare).
Wine is said to be the world's oldest medicine. In antiquity doctors such as Hippocrates prescribed wine. It was used as an antiseptic, as a sedative, as an an anaesthetic as well as a diuretic. Sometimes it was just a 'tonic'. To make water potable it was added to it.
Although it now seems that all alcohol consumption - not just wine - can be beneficial, seemingly the result of ehthanol on the platelet aggregation or blood clots, wine does have better antioxidant properties than other beverages, particularly, but not exclusively the flavenoids contained in red wines. Their concentration is highest in wines undergoing lengthy macerations making more robust styles - think Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec particularly - but also significant in Champagne and similar styles which undergo secondary fermentations.
Amoung regular and moderate wine consumers flavenoids are implicated in a lowering of the incidence of heart disease, some cancers and possibly type-2 diabetes, dementia, osteoporosis and recovery from strokes. There was even a UK study in 1993 that linked wine consumption to a reduction in the rate of infection by the common cold.