Greg Jardine, an organic chemist who runs Brisbane's Vineyard in Australia, developed a new red wine in 2003 named Dr Red, which he claims is the first antioxidant-enriched red wine to reach the market. The product is based on a little-used French grape variety called Durif. This has subsequently developed into a series of fruit punches based on the wine known as Dr Red Nutraceuticals.
The Durif grape is more commonly known as Petit Syrah and was developed by Dr Durif, a French nurseryman in the south of France in the late 1800s. It was created by crossing the Syrah grape with the Peloursin variety. Durif did not grow well in its native climate of the Rhone Valley and flourished in California and Australia. It produces small berries which means that the wines can be very tannic if the winemaker does not limit the skin contact during fermentation. Wines made from Durif are usually robust, full flavoured,rich in tannin, often acidic with black pepper and green overtones.
A University of Sydney cancer research team last year claimed antioxidants in Dr Red's Blueberry punch killed the cells of 5 different cancers in clinical tests. Research fellow Jas Singh said prostate, breast, bladder, colon and stomach cancer cells were all dramatically reduced after 2 weeks of treatment:
"It was a very significant drop in cell numbers, and we found that the more concentrated the dose (of punch), the greater the reduction in cancer cells," he said.
Dr Singh's team also injected immunodeficient mice with prostate cancer cells. After two weeks they found the tumours were 30% smaller.
However Queensland Health are conducting legal proceedings against Dr Red – not because they have taken issue with claims made by the company, but because it made details of health trials public. It is not an offence for details of human health trials to be made public in Queensland but it is illegal for those funding trials to publicise information.
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