Is There Water In Wine? What Percentage Of Wine Is Water? - Wine Turtle

Is There Water In Wine? What Percentage Of Wine Is Water?

This post was updated on: September 1, 2019

Is There Water In Wine? What Percentage Of Wine Is Water?

Is There Water In Wine? What Percentage Of Wine Is Water?

More and more teens choose wine as a preferred alcoholic beverage. And many of them reach the hospitals after alcohol abuse. Faced with these events, often loaded with drama, I believe it’s necessary to talk about wine and its composition. For instance, have you ever wondered if there is water in wine?

Perhaps not. We generally talk about prevention, without deepening, and above all without getting informed on the topic. 

But if we want to give it a meaning, it is necessary to explain what are the behaviors to be implemented to prevent such unpleasant events from happening. This can be achieved with the information supported by education aimed at convincing boys and girls on the negative impacts that alcohol abuse can cause.

So let's see what to do to convince our youngsters, or whoever is led to take too much alcohol, to behave more moderate.

Here, I will explain what are the components of wine and what are the effects that they cause on our body at a cellular level.

Is There Water In Wine? Wine Components and Their Effects

Wine derives from grapes which grow on vines. The vine is a perennial plant that can live for centuries in temperate climates.

The grape is transformed into wine through an alcoholic fermentation process; the protagonists of this fermentation process are the Saccharomyces or yeasts present on the peel or in the pulp of the fruit and which are responsible for transforming the grape sugars into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Grapes consist of the flesh, peel, and seeds.

The peel is the one that gives color to wine and contains aromatic substances that are well perceived as fruit aromas or flavors.

In the skin are also contained other substances such as soluble or insoluble fibers (pectin and cellulose) and antioxidant substances.

The flesh is the main component of grapes (about 80 - 85% of the weight) and is the substance from which the wine originates; the main components of the flesh are:

  • Water about 70-75%;
  • Glucose and fructose about 5-6 grams in 100 grams of grapes;
  • Malic, tartaric, and citric acid;
  • Liposoluble fibers;
  • Mineral salts (copper, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, calcium, and zinc);
  • Vitamins, in particular vitamin C, vitamin B, and niacin.

Other components present in the grape seeds this time, are the antioxidant materials including fatty acids, linoleic acid, and omega 6. Therefore, the grape seeds are important sources of antioxidants that will be transferred to the wine.

Having made this necessary premise on the organoleptic components of the grape, we must now enter the heart of the subject and to talk about the characteristics of the wine.

What Is Wine?

Wine is essentially a hydroalcoholic solution with a water content between 80 and 85%; in this aqueous component, all other substances are dissolved.

Another important component of the wine is alcohol, its quantity is very variable and is expressed in degrees per 100 milliliters. For instance, a wine that has a gradation of 12 degrees contains 12 milliliters of alcohol per 100 milliliters of wine.

In wine, there are then contained other 500 substances that derive from the fermentation process.

Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, is very soluble in water and passes in the gastrointestinal tract where it is rapidly absorbed in different percentages by the mouth, stomach, duodenum, small intestine and to a lesser extent by the colon. Once absorbed it passes quickly into the blood, arriving first to the liver through the portal vein and then to all the other organs with a particular predilection for the lungs, the brain, the kidneys.

Effects of Alcohol on the Body

In particular, it is necessary to remember that:

Drinking on an empty stomach causes the body to absorb all the alcohol in less than 40 minutes, and this explains the euphoria felt even after a small dose of wine or, even more, after a spirit. On the contrary, the absorption of alcohol is much slower on a full stomach, ranging from one hour to four hours.

Besides that, alcohol has many other effects on the body. The higher the gradation of alcohol, the highest its speed of absorption. Enzymes in our liver stop the metabolism and only process alcohol, that’s why it’s not recommended to exceed the recommended doses.

Types of Wine and Their Alcohol Concentration

Wine can be divided into four types:

  • Dry, contain from 1 to 5 grams of sugar;
  • Semi-dry, contain 6 to 20 grams of sugar;
  • Semi-sweet, from 20 to 50 grams of sugar;
  • Sweet, from 50 to 100 grams of sugar.

A myth to dispel is that sparkling wines don’t contain sugar, in fact, the quantity present in them is higher than that of normal wines, but the acidifying taste of carbon dioxide prevents us from perceiving it.

It is important from a cultural point of view, therefore, to know the sugar content of the most famous types of sparkling wines:

  • Extra Brut, less than seven grams per liter;
  • Brut, 7 - 15 grams;
  • Extra dry, 12 - 20 grams;
  • Dry, 17 - 35 grams;
  • Semi-dry, 33 - 50 grams;
  • Sweet,  over 50 grams.

In a natural wine, higher sugars mean lower alcohol, as it is the fermentation of sugars that produces alcohol. This may not be true if the wine is sweetened with added sugar or if it is a fortified wine.

Wine and Health Advantages

Let's now take a closer look at the relationship between wine and health, trying to explain the reasons why wine is useful and also the damage that the abuse can causes.

Wine is food that, consumed in moderation, protects our health.

The basic rule is that it must be consumed in the right dose, a dose that can vary from individual to individual.

Moderate consumption throughout the entire life protects us from major diseases that may affect the following systems:

  •  Cardiovascular;
  • Nervous;
  • Cellular aging.

Red wine is preferred to white wine because of its major content of polyphenols derived from the skin. Moreover, wine also prevents atherosclerosis by lowering the bad cholesterol and increasing the good one and decreasing the aggregation of the platelets. In short, a moderate dose of wine can be better in the long run than aspirin.

Wine and Neurological Diseases

Although wine may have positive effects in some acute neurological diseases such as ischemic stroke, proven studies show the great influence of wine in some types of chronic brain diseases such as senile dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Other diseases in which the wine has positive influences are diabetes, osteoporosis, and even the menopause. It seems that the resveratrol contained in the grape skin has an action similar to estrogenic decreases that inhibits the typical hot flashes. Moreover:

  • Wine improves the digestive functions from mouth where increases salivation to the stomach where it increases the secretion of gastrin and gastric juices.
  • Its intervention is useful to prevent the formation of kidney stones or cholecystitis.
  • There are important studies showing that those who drink wine in a moderate manner live longer than those who are teetotalers and the greatest survival is linked to a lower incidence of strokes and infarcts.

Another thing to remember regarding the healthy qualities of wine is what was called the French Phenomenon.  In France, a study coordinated by the WHO turned out that the deaths from vascular diseases were 5 times lower than in countries that consume less wine; scholars hypothesized that this result was attributable to the consumption of red wine.

The data of this study were then confirmed by other studies carried out both in Europe and in America and the merit of these important results has been attributed not so much to the alcohol contained in the wine as to a series of bioactive substances including polyphenols that are present in red wine in a harmonious and balanced cocktail.

The polyphenols are decisive for the gradation of the color of red wine, for the darkening of white wines, for the aromas, and the flavors. And they are largely responsible for the health effects of wine.

Wine and Health Damages

So far we have discussed the advantages that wine brings to our health, so now let’s talk about the damages that the abuse of alcoholic substances causes both in acute and chronic diseases.

To start with, excessive drinking can lead to acute toxicosis. If on the contrary, the excess becomes chronic it can lead to addiction, and to chronic alcoholism.

The latter condition, from a medical point of view, is responsible for the appearance of serious diseases affecting the liver diseases (cirrhosis and liver tumors, alcoholic hepatitis) that are largely determined by ethyl alcohol, especially in individuals with a genetic predisposition.

In addition to these liver diseases which are the most frequent occurrences in the abuse of alcohol is to varying degrees responsible for the development of other forms of cancer.

It must also be said that the combination of abuse of alcohol with smoking increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, and tumors exponentially.

Chronic alcohol abuse can eventually lead to addiction. Fortunately, unlike other substances, the time to get to addiction is long enough, and if you have the will, the effects can regress; the addiction, once established, leads to assume increasing doses of alcohol.

Addiction can be both physical and psychological, the first is when the body feels the lack of alcohol, the second is related to pleasant sensations that only alcohol intake can give.

Effects of Alcohol on Various Age Groups

white wine aperitif

The average percentages of alcohol consumption at a young age are approximate:

  • 67% of people between 13 and 15 years old;
  • 83% of people between 16 and 18 years;
  • 64% between 19 and 24 years;
  • 66% after 26 years old.

These percentages are very disturbing, and it is necessary to inform young people about the dangers of taking excessive doses of alcohol but above all educating them and informing them by explaining what the effects of alcohol are. Only in this way, it will be possible to avoid the tragic events that spread pain in families and represent the serious moral and material cost for the society.

Effects of Alcohol Excess when Driving

The effects of excess alcohol for the driver can be summarized as follows:

  • The slowdown in reaction time and coordination;
  • Inability to measure the speed, distance and position of the vehicle;
  • Lack of reflexes in the face of an unexpected event;
  • Reduction of the visual field and lengthening of sight recovery time;
  • Increased aggression with uncontrollable and abnormal reaction.

The more the blood-alcohol content rises, the more these reactions are accentuated. For instance, an alcoholic rate higher than 1.5%, increases by 25 times the possibility of causing an accident.

Wine Curiosities and Peculiarities

blind wine tasting

Many people consider wine as a stimulant for the nervous system. But in truth, rather than stimulating, wine is depressing and at high doses may give an erroneous sensation of omnipotence and greatness. Nevertheless, there are quite a few peculiarities to be aware of:

  • At low doses, it stimulates the appetite including the secretion of hydrochloric acid, but at high doses, it blocks it and causes chronic gastritis.
  • At low doses, it stimulates digestion by improving salivary, gastric and intestinal secretion, but when consumed frequently in high doses, it causes serious damage to the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and pancreas.
  • In small doses, due to its disinhibiting effect, it can be aphrodisiac; in high doses, it causes a decrease in sexual efficiency, as it inhibits the secretion of testosterone causing erectile dysfunctions.
  • It is not true that the wine heats up, it only causes vasodilation, reddening it. But in doing so, the temperature is lowered. If you look at an alcoholic's face, you can note that it is reddish and looks bloated.
  • It is not true that the wine improves the composition of the blood only because the skin of the drinkers is flushed; in truth, the wine reddens the skin causing skin dilatation, but it also inhibits the production of folic acid and causes anemia.

Final Thoughts

The history of man is linked to the history of wine. The wine, the vine, the vineyard are a gift that nature has given us to make our life more pleasant.

The various components of the wine are at our disposal to increase the sensory pleasure of a lunch or dinner, the aromas and delicate flavors that come from what the ancients called “beverage of the Gods” must enhance and blend with what we eat in such a way that wine enhances the pleasure of food and vice versa.

It is, however, appropriate to limit the doses, drink in small sips, mix the flavors. Only in this way we can take advantage of the benefits that this nectar can bring us to defend not only our pleasure but also our well-being.

Moderate consumption of no more than 10 glasses a week for men and 5 glasses a week for women extends our life, makes it more enjoyable, stimulates self-esteem, improves imagination, and allows us to say without fear of being criticized that a lunch without wine is like a day without sun, a night without love, or a child without a smile.

I hope to have helped you live longer, to have made you understand that the right dose is the honorable compromise to give more life to the days and not more days to life!

About the Author

Although not having any formal training in wine, Tim has developed an irrefutable love of wine and interest in anything related to it ever since he was a little kid. Coming from a family of wine lovers, it was from a young age that he got exposed to wine and the culture that goes with it and has been addicted ever since. Having traveled to dozens of wine regions across the world including those in France, Italy, California, Australia, and South Africa and tasted a large selection of their wines, it is with great joy that he hopes to share those experiences here and take you along on the journey.

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