Wine grapes have been around since the early days, some 7000 years to be precise. They were somehow always present in the life of mankind, be it as a delicious snack or part of a luscious meal or in the form of fermented grape juice. However, no one thought of using wine grapes for sport nutrition before.People liked their fermented grape juice so much that they started developing over the course of the year’s sophisticated viticulture and winemaking techniques. Wine became quickly one of the most appreciated beverages and many ancient stories are told about and around wine and wine grapes. We are sure that also many stories were actually inspired after consuming wine or wine grapes as well.
Nowadays, wine grapes are mainly used for making wine or wine based alcoholic beverages. It is rare to see them being used for anything else but that. Ask a winemaker what else he would do with his or her wine grapes and they would probably look at you astounded. Making wine has developed almost into a cult with all the wine critics and wine connoisseurs around the world creating more and more hype around it.
The difference between table grapes and wine grapes
The grapes we buy in the supermarket are rarely used for wine making; in fact they are called table grapes, cultivated with the aim of being eaten and not fermented.
Most people probably don’t know the difference between table grapes and wine grapes although it can be huge in taste and quality. Just put a berry of a table grape next to a berry of a wine grape and you will already notice the difference in size, with the table grape probably being 4 times bigger than the wine grape.
Table grapes are lower in sugar, lower in acidity, contain more water have a thinner skin and thicker pulp as consumers like them crunchy and come without seeds most of the time.
Winemakers want their wine grapes to be as potent as possible at the date of picking, rich in sugar, flavors, and ideally small berries for maximum concentration. Wine grapes will have a much thicker skin than table grapes, the pulp will be softer and juicier and they will have usually 2 or more seeds inside. When eating wine grapes you can taste the sweetness, higher acidity levels, and also the astringency and bitterness deriving from the polyphenols in the skins if you consume red grapes.
How to obtain good wine grapes for sport nutrition?
It’s an important part of the job of a winemaker to follow the maturity of their grapes by tasting them out in the field just before harvest, as the right flavors in the grapes are crucial to make a good wine. As the ripeness of the grapes proceeds, so do their flavors. One cannot make good wine if the flavors of the grapes are not at the right point.
That said as sports enthusiasts we always have been intrigued to find the right nutrition that keeps us going during our work-outs and also during our competitions. There are several parameters that the right nutrition should achieve in order to meet our requirements and here are some of the points that we were looking for when using wine grapes for sport nutrition:
- Be as natural as possible
- Give the right amount of calories with the right sugar mix to maintain blood sugar levels or in other words avoid blowing up or bonking
- Contain also vital phytonutrients that help recover quickly from strenuous exercise and that keep my muscles firing
- Be tasty but not overly pungent in flavors or overly sweet to avoid feeling nauseous during the work-out or competition
- Give back some of the minerals that are lost over the course of exercising
- A balance of acidity, flavors and sweetness (just like in wine)
- Be something that one looks forward to consume and not just turn into a calorie counting machine that has lost all its senses
- Guarantee to be residual free which in viticulture is highly controlled and also analyzed
- GMO free
- Gluten-free and ideally vegan-friendly
- Easy to consume and digest
- Serve unique flavors to our consumers and not just be another strawberry or banana flavored product
That said the idea of using wine grapes to create our very own sport nutrition called Vindurance was born. Whilst most people might shake their heads in disbelief, we like to challenge you:
So why not using wine grapes for sports nutrition?
First of all, yes, we really do use wine grapes for sport nutrition and work together with an Australian winery. We are not a “lab product”. Knowing the winery and its quality philosophy gives us the assurance of being able to offer something unique to our clients.
The right quality of wine grapes for sport nutrition is crucial in obtaining the best product. Just like in wine making, you cannot make good wine out of bad grapes and we cannot make good sport nutrition out of bad grapes either.
The benefits of wine grapes for sport nutrition
Let us give you a few of the highly convincing points why wine grapes are actually a good choice when it comes to exercising and sport.
We all have read about how healthy it is to drink red wine in moderation to avoid coronary diseases, reduce cholesterol levels, blood clotting and many more. These positive health benefits we can thank to the Antioxidants called polyphenols inside grapes. Antioxidants are well known to athletes, being important in supporting recovery after a tough work-out as they fight the free radicals that come along with exercise reducing oxidative stress.Reservatrol is for sure the most famous one and it is linked to cancer prevention research, inflammation reduction, fat burning and some see it as the top phytonutrient for anti-ageing.Quercetin is another polyphenol that is known for its anti-inflammatory effects and reducing blood pressure benefits.
- They contain many good vitamins such as Vitamin B, Vitamin C and Vitamin K. Still grabbing for the vitamin pills?
- Wine grapes contain natural minerals depending on varietal and the area they are grown in such as sodium, magnesium, calcium and potassium. Whilst in winemaking particularly potassium can cause trouble with unwanted precipitations whereas most winemakers try to reduce those levels, we are more than happy to keep those natural levels inside Vindurance
- Grapes are classified as a low glycemic index (GI) food. This is helpful in regulating blood sugar levels and keeping insulin in check. Remember those moments when your body asks for more and more although you just had consumed something caloric and sugary? It should not happen if you pay attention to the GI levels of your food and the type of sugars that you are consuming.
- Polyphenols (remember, the antioxidants in grapes) that are produced in plants and fruit bunches to fight plant related diseases and to protect the plant from sun radiation, can have a similar effect when consumed. Grapes are noted to have anti-microbial benefits which are a great support for our immune system whilst under stress when exercising.
- Wine grapes are rich in flavors and tasty. You don’t describe wine grapes with only ONE flavor but connect to each varietal usually a group of various flavors that let you indulge into a fascinating world of aromas.
- Recent researches have shown that by consuming grape juice on a daily base your cognition and memory will get a boost. The researches related their finding again to polyphenols who by reducing microbial attack attacks and oxidative stress on our system improve our memory and ability of thinking. Sounds great, getting smarter by simply consuming grape juice, doesn’t it?
Raisins are a great sugar source and also very savory but unfortunately they will lose most of the healthy benefits above mentioned during their concentration process so don’t expect to find antioxidants or Vitamins inside of them. Keep also in mind that they are ranking higher in the Glycemic Index, so better to not over-do it with raisins whilst competing.
Ever heard of the French paradox?
Some of the French cuisine is known of being rich in saturated fat but nonetheless French people have fewer problems with coronary diseases which might be linked to their consumption of red wine every day.
Well, once again the positive effects of polyphenols keeping your blood vessels clean are the reason why the French people enjoy such a healthy life style.
Now, we all know how religious athletes take their training regime and output so alcohol is not always a friend of our daily training ordeal. Alcohol is known for its dehydrating effects on the human body as also actually creating more oxidative stress (alcohol will be oxidized in the liver to acetaldehyde) making it harder for the body to recover, especially when already accumulated oxidative stress is present from exercise.
But, hey, here is the surprise:
You don’t have to drink a glass of red wine to get those antioxidants; they are already in the grapes and grape juice. Now, whilst we understand this is less fun for some, we are sure as a sports lover, you will be thrilled to hear that you still can get your healthy antioxidants in and have your beloved Cabernet Sauvignon without having to consume alcohol by simply consuming Vindurance products.
Are you still uncertain about why wine grapes for sport nutrition are good?
Try to incorporate Vindurance in your daily work-out routine before using straight in a competition and you won’t be disappointed with the results. And every once in a while don’t feel guilty if you also consume a real glass of wine. You have probably deserved it after all this training.
Your Vindurance Team