Antioxidants in red wine

Me and my beloved one drinking red wine

Italians LOVE wine. Italy ranks first in the top 15 wine-producing and third in the top 15 wine-consuming countries.

Source: OIV data, 2019

In 1995, Frankel and collaborators demonstrated that antioxidants and phenolic compounds present in wine contribute to keeping low the level of low-density lipoproteins (LDL). LDL is often called “bad cholesterol” and is the main responsible for atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.

Thus, a moderate consumption of wine can have some beneficial effect on human health.

Antioxidants content, phenols and bitterness are only some of the features that determine wine quality. Merkyte and collaborators published a paper in which they used an e-tongue to simultaneously determine all these three features.

E-tongue (short for electronic tongue) is an instrument that works like a tongue: it measures tastes.

The researchers analyzed three types of red wine produced in South Tyrol (Italy): Lagrein, St. Magdalener and Vernatsch. To validate the results obtained with the e-tongue, they measured the antioxidant activity and the phenolic content with traditional chemical methods and the bitterness was evaluated by a panel of 12 experts.

Traditional chemical methods are expensive, time-consuming and require the use of dangerous chemical compounds. The results obtained with the e-tongue overlap the ones obtained with traditional methods.

Moreover, the evaluation of the 12 expert panelists correlated with the analysis obtained with the e-tongue.

To conclude, e-tongue is simple to use, fast (only 20 seconds per wine sample), reliable, sensitive and cheap.

It can become the new standard for quality control analysis in wineries.


Merkyte et al., “Fast and Simultaneous Determination of Antioxidant Activity, Total Phenols and Bitterness of Red Wines by a Multichannel Amperometric Electronic Tongue”, Electroanalysis, (2018), 30:314-319,

Frankel et al., “Principal Phenolic Phytochemicals in Selected California Wines and Their Antioxidant Activity in Inhibiting Oxidation of Human Low-Density Lipoproteins”, Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, (1995), 43:890-894,

Statistics about wine in Italy:

International Organisation of Vine and Wine:

If you want to visit South Tyrol:

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