Benton Lane Winery
"A small winery in Oregon is producing one of the world's healthiest wines." ...the role of resveratrol.
Resveratrol is a naturally occurring compound in grapes possessing very powerful biological effects. Such effects include minimizing the risk of atheroschlerosis and heart disease, powerful cancer-fighting properties, and protection against degenerative neurologic diseases. Apart from rather small amounts in peanuts, red wine is virtually the only source of this compound in the normal human diet.
In a reseach paper authored in 200, Benton-Lane's 1997 Oregon Pinot Noir was found to contain 40.9 micromoles/liter of resveratrol, "the highest resveratrol level of any tested wine currently available."
Benton-Lane's Pinot Noir wines consistently test among the highest in the world for the presence of resveratrol.
Resveratrol is a natural anti-fungal agent concentrated in the skins of grapes. Due to Oregon's often cool and moist climate, grapes from this region contain higher amounts of resveratrol. Red wines contain more resveratrol than white wines because red wines ferment with their skins. Pinot Noir has twice the resveratrol level of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. These wines average around 8 micromoles/liter whereas Pinot Noir averages around 13 micromoles/liter.
Resveratrol has been shown to boost "good" cholesterol and prevent blood clotting, effects likely responsible for improved heart health.
Resveratrol also has potentially impressive anti-cancer properties. In tests it appears to inhibit the formation and growth of cancer tumors. Recent research by Professor Gerry Potter at De Montfort University in U.K. indicates that resveratrol is converted in the body to piceatannol, a compound which actively fights, not just prevents cancer. Additional laboratory research lead by Professor Alberto Bertelli of Milan University found that resveratrol could possibly protect against degenerative neurologic diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's by stimulating nerve cells to regenerate.
It may be the case that more frequent resveratrol consumption may improve your health. Consult your family doctor about the health effects of wine consumption.
History of the Winery
From the winery owner, Steve Girard: "In the early 1980's I wanted to make Pinot Noir. I was making wine in Napa Valley under the Girard label, but Napa wasn't the place to make Pinot. Pinot Noir is a special grape and it does not respond well to lots of heat, and if the growing conditions for Pinot Noir are too warm, the fruit gets burned out. The spiciest, most interesting Pinots are produced in cooler climates, like Oregon. After studying maps of soil, climate, wind, rainfall, degree days, wind patterns, frost free days and sun photon strength I determined that the highest quality Pinot Noir in the world could be grown between Eugene and Corvallis in a thirty-mile area of Oregon's Willamette Valley. This was 120 miles south of where most of the Oregon wineries were located, but I knew that the y were located there only to sell their wines, not because it was the best location for a Pinot Noir vineyard.
After I scouted different locations and kicked lots of dirt clods, I found an old sheep ranch called Sunnymount. It was placed on the planet for one reason, and one reason only, and that was to grow killer Pinot Noir. Sunnymount is located between Eugene and Corvallis and lies above the valley fog line, but below the windy ridge tops. It faces the southeast so it gets morning sun, and it's gently sloping so that frost isn't a major factor. It is protected from the west by a large mountain that splits oncoming storms, so it is just sunnier than other areas north and south (hence the name Sunnymount). Pilots landing in Eugene and Corvallis called Sunnymount the "Keyhole" because if it was cloudy, they could usually fly to Sunnymount and there find clear spots to get under the clouds.
But like all good things, Sunnymount was too expensive, so I just lusted after it and waited. Over the next five years, land values declined and the owner of Sunnymount lost his ranch to the bank. It was then that my partner, Carl Doumani, and I were able to buy the 1,860-acre ranch and begin planting Pinot Noir. Our first planting was in 1989.
Our wines were produced at a local winery until 1998 when the winery, office and tasting room complex were constructed. Today we have 126 acres of Pinot Noir planted and produce approximate 20,000 cases of wine a year.