Q: Does orange wine have the same health benefits as red wine?—Nicholas, Des Moines, Iowa
A: Orange wines are white wines made with extended grape skin contact during fermentation, imparting an orange hue to the finished product. The potential health benefits of red wine are largely credited to the presence of polyphenols such as resveratrol. White wines and orange wines contain those heart-healthy antioxidants as well, just in less concentrated doses.
"Orange wine contains less phenolics than a full-bodied red wine, and as phenolics are the main antioxidants in wine, it can contain less antioxidants," Dr. Anita Oberholster, an associate specialist in cooperative extension in enology at U.C. Davis, told Wine Spectator. "However, some health benefits are due to the moderate consumption of alcohol itself."
According to Dr. Oberholster, there is not a lot of data on the concentration of phenolics in orange wine, but any skin contact fermentation will increase resveratrol concentrations, which are at the focus of many wine-related studies.
While moderate wine consumption may have health benefits, Dr. Oberholster reminds wine lovers that wine is not the best source to obtain significant amounts of antioxidants, and that those looking for higher concentrations are better off taking supplements. Consult a medical professional before incorporating wine as part of a healthy diet.—Shawn Zylberberg