First, a South African winery created a supercharged healthy wine; now University of Illinois scientists are solving the other downside to a nice class of vino: the dreaded wine headache.
How about a hangover free wine?
Researchers have engineered a genetically-modified yeast that could greatly increase the health benefits of wine while reducing the toxic byproducts that cause your morning-after headache.
"Fermented foods—such as beer, wine, and bread—are made with polyploid strains of yeast, which means they contain multiple copies of genes in the genome,” says lead study author Yong-Su Jin, Ph.D.
By genetically altering the yeast, his team has created new, healthier bioactive compounds, like 10 times the amount of wine’s famously healthy antioxidant resveratrol per glass.
It could also fix the pesky problems that come with a great glass of Merlot.
The yeast—a technology that has been created, but has yet to actually be paired with a bottle of red—would target amine compounds, high concentrations of which contribute to the allergic reactions that lead to headaches.
It would work by targeting the second fermentation in wine production, the stage that creates a smooth final texture, but it also creates healthy bacterial strains that lead to irritating amine compounds.
“We envision that our yeast engineering technology can get rid of the secondary fermentation step—and therefore the headache-contributing allergens—while still making wine taste smooth,” Jin explains.
Unfortunately, this new-and-improved wine is still years away from being sold in a store near you.
Plus, there is a chance it won’t actually solve your pounding head, because not all flare-ups are caused from the histamines created by amine compounds.
All the same, the experts may not know exactly which compounds cause that day-after effect, they do know which varieties are more considerate of your pain.
To avoid a wine headache, opt for white over red (the lighter variety doesn’t keep the skin on the grapes during fermentation), varieties aged in stainless steel over oak (for less irritating compounds from the storage vessel), fruity flavors over buttery (the latter of which are traditionally aged in oak), and with lower alcohol content.
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