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Published:  23 July, 2008

White wine, often seen as the lesser sibling when it comes to the health benefits of wine, is fighting back with the introduction of a Chardonnay rich in polyphenolic compounds. The new wine, featured in a report in the latest issue of New Scientist, is called Paradoxe Blanc, a reference to the controversial French Paradox theory - the reason the French suffer so little heart disease, despite eating a diet rich in fatty foods and smoking, is due to their high intake of wine. Moderate consumption of alcohol is generally thought to protect against heart disease, although opinion is divided over whether wine has more intrinsic health benefits than any other alcoholic product. Recent research suggests, however, that polyphenols, found in the skins and pips of grapes, inhibit the development of fatty streaks on the walls of arteries as well as mopping up damaging free radicals. Polyphenols are found in much higher levels in red wine than in white wine, mostly because of the way red wine is made. But the new Chardonnay has polyphenol levels four times higher than a standard French Chardonnay. Pierre-Louis Teissedre developed the new wine by first choosing grapes rich in polyphenols and then using red wine-making practices to extract them. These were described by the New Scientist as: softening up the mashed grapes for six days and heating the mixture to a higher temperature'. Tiessedre said that his team developed Paradoxe Blanc specifically for people with juvenile or type I diabetes, who are less able to mop up free radicals. Tests have shown that a daily glass or two of the wine can restore blood antioxidant levels to close to normal. It was Professor Roger Corder who first linked red wine polyphenols with a reduced incidence of heart disease, research which won him the 2002 Geoffrey Roberts Award. He used the 3,000 bursary to travel to Sardinia to investigate the link between high-altitude grapes and increased levels of polyphenols. Applications are now being invited for the Geoffrey Roberts Award 2003. The judges are looking for someone who will spend the bursary in a way that is likely to make a positive difference to the worlds of food, drink or hospitality. For further details and an application form, contact or see