Rioja Winemakers Try to Make Medicine Out of Vino


Rioja winemakers may be promoting the fruits of their labor in New York this week, but back in Rioja, it’s business as usual. And, in some cases, not so usual. Bodegas Riojanas, which just happens to be one of the oldest wineries in the region, is one of nine wineries participating in a government study of Rioja’s flagship grape, Tempranillo. The idea behind the project is to enhance the wines made from this grape by boosting the amount of resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant shown to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, contained in it. By spraying a jasmine solution onto the vines, the grape growers have been able to increase the dose of resveratrol found in the wines by 79 percent. The first wines made from the enhanced grapes will be available next year. Pablo Orio, the oenologist at Riojanas, joked that the wine could be the cure for cancer. No one’s making any promises, but it sure seems worth a try.