It’s well known that French men and women are less likely to suffer heart disease compared with Americans and some researchers speculated drinking red wine helps French people. How extactly red wine could help reduce the heart risk remains unknown though.

A study in the May 27, 2011 issue of European Journal of Pharmacology suggests resveratrol found in red wine and red grapes may be responsible for this reduced risk.

The study showed resveratrol helped prevent endothelial dysfunction in rats. Endothelial dysfunction is associated with hypertension and vascular oxidative stress or eventually cardiovascular disease.

In the study, Siddhartha R. Bhatt of the University fo Houston in Texas and colleagues treated some spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) aged 3 to 4 weeks with resveratrol in drinking water for 10 weeks. Some rats remained untreated as controls.

At the end of the study, the researchers found that compared to rats treated with resveratrol-added drinking water, rats untreated with resveratrol were more likely to have higher blood pressure, oxidative stress and reduced endothelium dependent relaxation.

On the other hand, rats treated with resveratrol lowered blood pressure; reduced hydrogen peroxide and increased superoxide dismutase activity, meaning that the oxidative stress was reduced; and normalized endothelium dependent vasorelaxation, nitrite/nitrate levels and nitrotyrosine content.

More importantly, according to the study, resveratrol treatment prevented the uncoupling of endothelial nitric oxide synthetase (eNOS) and scavenging of nitric oxide (NO), both of which would be otherwise observed in vascular diseases.

The study suggests that resveratrol can help prevent cardiovascular diseases including hypertension.

Food consumers do not have to drink red wine to prevent cardiovascular disease; resveratrol is now available as a dietary supplement.

Pontoon: Floating Champagne Bar Opens In London

As London’s al fresco venues jostle for position this summer, one company have created a unique location for the city’s revellers to party outdoors.

Situated in St Katherine Docks, a vibrant Marina in the heart of historic London, Pontoon is London’s first ever floating Champagne and seafood bar. Pontoon is the brainchild of pop up restaurants and events company P.U.R.E.

The 5-berth yacht can hold up to 80 guests for private parties and drinks receptions, with luxury brands including Relais & Châteaux, Wine Story and Pommery providing on-board hospitality.

A classic motor yacht built in 1975 by Camper & Nicholsons, Pontoon has been updated with high-end fittings, including a natural wood terrace and luxurious lounge.

Open daily from 9am until midnight, guests can enjoy a drinks menu that includes Pommery Champagne and a diverse range of seafood dishes including oysters, whole crabs, langoustines and scallops, as well as spit roasted meats.

The venue will also play host to weekly wine and seafood tastings, salsa dancing classes, live Jazz music performances and weekend DJ nights.

New Travel Guide for Wine Country Ontario

Wine Country Ontario has recently launched the 2011 Wine Country Ontario Year-Round Travel Guide.

Released at Ontario wineries in May and at LCBO outlets in June, this Guide offers extensive travel information, travel tips, breathtaking photography, and regional cuisine.

This Guide also includes the 82 wineries from the province’s four primary wine destinations – Lake Erie North Shore & Pelee Island, Niagara Escarpment & Twenty Valley, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Prince Edward County, in addition to a number of wineries from surrounding regions. Included inside is a pullout Wine Route Map along with an overview of each winery.

“Inspiring over 1 million visitors per year, wine country tourism is a valuable asset for our province and supports our goal of making Ontario the number one choice for travellers. This new Guide will help showcase the magnificent features of Wine Country Ontario, drawing visitors to experience its beauty first-hand,” says the Hon. Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism and Culture.

Throughout the year, copies of the Guide will be available at all wineries and Ontario Tourism & Information Centers, or view an easy to use flip-through electronic version at

New for 2011: you can now access the Wine Country Ontario mobile web app viewable when you visit on most smartphones. This invaluable tool allows consumers to sort information by region, winery, wine, accommodations, restaurants and other attractions while travelling.

Champagne Harvest Comes Early

It’s official August holidays have now been cancelled Champagne in anticipation of an early harvest, possibly the earliest on record for a number of reasons.

Due to the warm weather in March and which continues into early June has caused flowering early this year. Flowering has generally been completed before the end of May, and this year, the vines were in full flower by 21 May. Adding 92 days, the average time over the past decade in Champagne between flowering and the start of the harvest—picking could start on 22 August.

Dominique Moncomble, The Director of Technical Services at CIVC said flowering has taken place around three weeks in advance this year and was especially early in the Côte des Blancs area.

However, August is usually warmer and has more sun than September, it is possible the period between flowering may be even shorter, perhaps 80 days, which means the first grapes may be picked on August 16.

The lack of rain this year could also accelerate the date. Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon winemaker for Louis Roederer and Didier Mariotti, winemaker for GH Mumm are both ready to start early August, if not earlier.

The earliest harvest in the Champagne Region, on record, was during the ‘heat wave summer’ of 2003.

Photo by
Liz Palmer
May 24, 2011

Today is Race Day: Investec Derby @ 4 pm (Pol Roger is the Champagne Sponsor)

At 4 pm this afternoon you will hear the deafening roar that greets the start of the greatest flat race in the world, as Britain’s biggest one day sporting crowd signal the start of the Investec Derby, one of the world’s iconic sporting moments.

Today is unique in the sporting calendar – the first Saturday in June is always Investec Derby Day, so make sure to add it to your diary now for next year and will also be celebrating The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Saturday 4 June 2011 is particularly special because of one horse, Carlton House, who will line up at 4pm this afternoon for his owner Her Majesty The Queen, providing perhaps her best opportunity in her 10th attempt at winning the Blue Riband of the turf.

The Sir Michael Stoute trained three-year-old colt has dominated the headlines since winning the Dante at York on 12 May and will be ridden today by Ryan Moore, last years Investec Derby winner on Workforce.

Sponsors include: title sponsor Investec, Audemars Piguet (Timing), Jaguar (Automotive), Pol Roger (Champagne), and William Hill (Betting).