Media interest in the wine industry has continued to gain momentum over the last couple decades. In modern times there has always been a multitude of speciality magazines and websites that have tracked the wine world, but as the general public has become more interested in a healthy lifestyle and how food can affect one’s biology, the mass media has run a larger number of stories concerning all aspects of the wine industry. Two interesting articles have come out in the last week that demonstrate the wide range of information currently being published about wine.
The first, while actually a press release from a consumer research organization, has also been run in numerous investment feeds and discussed in other articles. Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) is a company that specializes in researching and collecting retail purchasing information for various sectors in the consumer market. They recently published some highlights from their latest Wine Analysis. They cover some of the latest trends that they’ve found in consumer wine purchases and also point out how those trends are evolving since their last analysis (E&J Gallo is really succeeding at reinvention!). Check out the press release here.
The second article addresses something about which many wine lovers might have a significant concern…headaches and hangovers! I’m just as guilty as the next wine fanatic of, say, over-imbibing at times (though I almost never have any problems the next day, thank goodness). The resulting, sometimes VERY, early morning effects can range from insomnia, a headache, a speedily beating heart and just a general feeling of crappiness. But…there now appears to be hope, well, hope of at least avoiding most of these problems by running a little test of the wine that is about to cheer your soul, as my good friend Steve found while continuing his exhaustive quest to read everything ever published. UC Berkeley professor (from a university in NorCal? You don’t say!), Richard A. Mathies, Ph.D. and his collaborators have used his NASA funding to design a device that detects a family of compounds that are thought to be the cause of most hangovers and are found in red wine and other gourmet aged foods.
Biogenic amines are compounds that are found in many uncooked foodstuffs, but they are found at particularly high levels in processed foods that are created during fermentation or pickling. Marcus Wohlsen of the AP picked up the story, but it appears that there is a lot more to the research of Professor Mathies, et al and their little device than could be squeezed into the article. One interesting tidbit from the article actually gives a point to beer over wine: beer has some of the lowest levels of reactive amines!
If you’d like the full enchilada of info about this new device, the corresponding journal article was published in Thursday’s edition (11/01/07) of Analytical Chemistry. The abstract is here and pending your access, the full article is here.