It’s not like we really need another reason to enjoy wine. After all, wine is good for us. We know that the resveratrol in the wine that helps fights aging. The social aspects of wine tasting help keep us connected to our community. Now there’s more good news: it seems that champagne improves memory! Will the IRS allow champagne as a medical deduction?
So some eager researchers at the Reading University in England decided to study the effects of champagne on rat memory. That must have been a great staff meeting! “OK, so we are going to need a couple dozen lab rats and a couple cases of Dom.” Who approved that requisition? Were they invited to the “experiments”?
Now, they did actually perform some experiments. They divided the rats into two groups: the test group (notable for their rat-smiles) that received champagne-infused food, and a control group (sad, sad, sad) that only received unimproved rat chow. This is science in action!
Each rat was placed in a maze that led to food. The time it took to find the food was recorded, hopefully in a legible manner. Five minutes later, each rat was placed in the same maze and timed again. This was designed to measure rat memory retention. I don’t associate rats with fantastic memories, but apparently when food is involved, they can remember twists and turns through a maze. At least a bit.
The effects were measurable. The champagne chomping rats were nearly 50% more effective in finding the food in the maze. And it gets better! After six glorious weeks eating champagne chow, these very happy rats had twice the normal level of memory-related proteins.
Some details are in order. The scientists believe that phenolics (ask a chemist, they’ll welcome the question) in the champagne are responsible for the memory improvement. That means that champagne made from red grapes will deliver a better phenolic benefit than champagne made from white grapes. That means searching out blanc de noir champagne, rather than blanc de blanc varieties. Tough work, but somebody’s got to do it.
In the spirit of full disclosure, it should be pointed out that the bubbles in the champagne do not seem to be involved in the memory improvement. Any wine made from red grapes can (technically) deliver the phenolic wonderfulness. Like everything else wine-related, it all comes down to personal taste.
So next time you raise your wine glass, remind yourself that you’re boosting your memory.
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?