Woman holding head in pain

Avoid These Migraine Food Triggers

There’s possibly nothing worse than getting a migraine.

Well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but still – migraines are truly awful! They make you want to simply curl up in a dark room and not leave until sound and light stop causing you pain.

If you’ve suffered from migraines, you know that there can be all sorts of triggers. And truly, the scope of triggers is quite vast. 

Now, there has been research which connects certain types of food with migraines. That means that you should at least reduce the amount of that food in your diet if you want to reduce the frequency and the intensity of your migraine attacks.

What Are Migraines?

Basically, migraines are extremely painful headaches, which can be accompanied by sensory sensitivity. Symptoms can vary from one person to another and can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours, and sometimes even longer.

Some common symptoms of migraines include:

  • Headache
  • Disturbed vision
  • Sensitivity to sensory information (i.e. to light, sound, smells)
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Lightheadedness

However, migraines are usually also preceded and followed by other symptoms, so the impact of a single migraine attack can actually be quite long and debilitating. It can impact your everyday life to a significant extent, especially if you get them often.

Unfortunately, there is no medical cure for migraines currently. They are usually treated with other pain-relieving medication, or, in some cases, with preventive medication taken on a regular basis, which serves to reduce their severity or frequency.

However, there are things you yourself can do to prevent getting migraines. That may not completely eradicate your migraines, but it will certainly help significantly.

Migraine Triggers

Migraines are incredibly complex (they even used to be called complicated migraines). Even though there is plenty of research being done to see what causes them and to improve treatment, it seems that there is a long way to go still.

However, what most experts seem to agree on is that migraines are usually preceded by a specific trigger. The scope of triggers varies from one person to the next. While some triggers cause migraines in some people, they have no effect whatsoever on others, who are also suffering from migraines.

In any case, the scope of triggers is truly astounding. It involves things like hormonal changes, changes in sleep patterns, too much food, too little food, too much sleep, too little sleep, too much time in front of the computer, dehydration, and even the weekend.

Yes, even the weekend is a possible migraine trigger.

Many people suffer migraines due to the change in daily routine, which is why they experience a migraine at the weekend, when they should be relaxing.

Now that’s a pickle.

When it comes to food, there have been some studies that link certain types of food with the onset of migraines. However, because of its truly specific nature, scientists have been unable to find a common thread in all people who suffer from migraines.

That is why everyone should check their specific triggers. Here are some of the common food triggers that have been linked with causing migraines, which you might want to avoid. Now, this doesn’t mean you should stop consuming them completely. You simply need to control your cravings, and you’re on the right path.

Red Wine

We know, we know.

This one hits home! How else are we supposed to (politely) manage all those boring dinners without getting (politely) tipsy on wine?

Well, if you’re a wine aficionado, we simply don’t know what to tell you.

And it’s not the wine’s fault, per se. Sulfites, which are used in red wine as preservatives, are, sadly, on the list of foods that may trigger migraines.

Additionally, alcohol in general is a major trigger. While you drink it, alcohol increases the blood flow to your brain and that, as you may have guessed, is known to trigger migraines.

Also – hangovers are simply the worst.

Dehydration, which is a common side-effect of the good ol’ hangover, can also cause migraines or, at the very least, a headache.

So, it might be a good idea to quit…

…fooling around and simply reduce the amount of alcohol you drink.

As they say, moderation is key.

Coffee

Again, no need to completely quit coffee.

In fact, caffeine aids the absorption of many pain-relieving drugs.

However, if you’re used to several cups of coffee a day, when you don’t get the amount you’re used to, that’s when migraines appear.

Look into your daily consumption of caffeine, since it is not particularly healthy overall to drink too much of it. But, if you’re thinking about reducing the amount of coffee you drink, you have to do it gradually. So, no going cold turkey. Your body will not be happy.

According to most experts, daily intake of caffeine should be no more than 200 milligrams. The bad news is – it’s only one cup of coffee.

Chocolate

Dark chocolate truffles

When it comes to chocolate, many people have also said that it triggers their migraines. However, the jury’s still out on chocolate – some people who suffer from migraine headaches claim that chocolate helps ease their headache.

A study conducted at the University of California, San Diego analyzed oral and stool samples and found that people who experience migraines after eating chocolate have higher levels of gut microbes that modify nitrates.

Now, chocolate is full of nitrates.

The bacteria in our gut modifies and then its waste product, nitrites, become nitric oxide in the blood.

Nitric oxide is usually great for many things, including circulation, but it’s not particularly great for people who experience migraines.

So, again, while chocolate itself is not too bad, having too much of it can lead to headaches.

Tyramine

Yeah, we bet you’re thinking you’ve never had tyramine in your life.

But, you have, you definitely have.

Except in other, sneakier (and tastier) forms.

Tyramine can be found in aged foods, as well as fermented foods, such as:

  • Cured meats
  • Aged cheese
  • Smoked fish

Tyramine is also found in some types of beer and even some fruits and veggies.

Food is more likely to have more tyramine if it is stored for long and if it isn’t kept in sufficiently cold environments.

An enzyme in the human body called monoamine oxidase (MAO) actually breaks down monoamines like tyramine. If you do not have enough of it in your system, it’s possible that you’ll get a migraine.

However, because it is such a complex issue, it’s still not completely clear how tyramine exactly triggers migraines.

Now, for some good news. There are actually types of meats and cheese which have higher and lower levels of tyramine. Here are some of them.

Meat/Poultry/Fish

Apple Cranberry Sausage Stuffing

When it comes to meat, you should avoid processed meat such as sausages, salami, as well as gravy (we know, this one’s hard for us, too). Another thing you should avoid is pickled fish, but we have a feeling not many people are dissatisfied with this one. However, this also includes smoked fish, so that might be a bit more difficult.

On the other hand, there is also meat which doesn’t have that much tyramine, such as fresh meat, fish, and poultry. Also, canned meats or fresh fish are also good for consumption and are not that likely to cause a migraine.

Cheese/Dairy

Unfortunately, some of the best types of cheese are really high in tyramine. These include all sorts of aged cheese, cheddar, blue cheese, Camembert, Swiss cheese, Parmesan, Stilton, and even feta.

This one’s sad as sad can be.

Seriously, how can you have pasta without Parmesan?

But, people with migraines have to cool it with the cheese.

On the other hand, types like cottage cheese, farmer’s cheese and even cream cheese are good. Also, yoghurt, fresh milk and sour cream are low in tyramine, so you can have them whenever you want.

Fruit/Vegetables

If you’re not a fan of sour fruit, then you won’t be too affected by this. Oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lemons, limes and pineapple are higher in tyramine.

When it comes to vegetables, you might want to steer clear from beans and sauerkraut. Also, you should avoid fermented food. That doesn’t mean you should completely cut them out. It simply means that you might want to reduce the quantity. Fermented foods are otherwise incredibly healthy and they can have many other health benefits. However, if they trigger your migraines, you might want to cool it on the fermented food.

On the other hand, you can eat most vegetables – fresh, canned or frozen – and it is unlikely that they will cause any migraines.

How to Lower Tyramine in Food

Tyramine actually increases the longer food is held at room temperature. That is why you should store your food in the refrigerator.

When you thaw frozen foods, do it in the refrigerator or, if you have it, a microwave.

Another good tip for lowering tyramine is to cook or eat fresh meat or fish on the day you bought them. Otherwise, it’s best to freeze them.

Also, never ever eat something that has been kept in the fridge for more than a day.

Check Your Triggers

So, if you’re wondering whether food really can be a trigger for migraines, the short answer is – yes.

Your diet alone cannot cause migraines. It’s unlikely that you’ll always get migraines when eating certain food.

However, while there are types of food in general believed to be causing migraines, there is also food that specifically causes your migraine.

The best way to identify your triggers is to write a combined food/migraine diary. If you’re suffering from migraines, you already have a pretty good idea what may trigger yours. Migraines can occur a day after eating triggering food.

You should combine a food diary with a headache diary to see whether some foods cause headaches. Headaches themselves are not too bad. However, combined with other possible triggers, they may cause a full-blown migraine.

Then, the next step is to reduce the food that you’ve noticed has that effect on you. If you really like something, you don’t need to completely cut it out. But, it would be valuable for your overall health if you were to reduce it significantly.

There Are Beneficial Foods Too

Now that we’ve listed all the bad food, it’s time for a look on the other side. It has been proven that certain food is “pain-safe,” that is, it does not trigger any conditions.

Including, you might have guessed it – migraines.

Also, they are overall beneficial in reducing the frequency of your migraines and alleviating pain. The food and drinks that actually cannot trigger your migraines include:

  • Rice (especially brown)
  • Almost all vegetables
  • Fruit (which was not listed above)
  • Green tea, ginger tea
  • Fish
  • Chicken

There has even been research to show that a plant-based diet can really benefit people who suffer from migraines. So, if you want to get rid of migraines, you know what to do!

(No, you don’t have to go vegan. Simply adjust your diet a bit and you’ll see an improvement in time.)

Home Remedies for Migraines

There are ways to also naturally reduce the intensity of migraines once you get them. While they may not completely cure your migraines, these are known for helping with the symptoms. There are also cures to treat headaches, and they also might alleviate your pain.

Here is what you should do when you get a migraine:

  • Lie in a dark, quiet room. Due to sensory sensitivity, which can worsen your headache, it is recommended that you simply lie down in a room in which the blinds are drawn shut. If you live in a noisy part of the city, use earplugs to make sure the noise doesn’t bother you.

  • Cool your head down. Experts believe that cooling the head reduces the blood flow to the brain, which might lower the pain you’re feeling. When you get a migraine, you should put an ice pack on your forehead or neck. Or, if that’s too cold for you, use a washcloth that has been put under cold water and drained. The only problem is that you will have to rinse it often because it can heat up quite fast.
Flat lay of heart-healthy foods

Foods That Boost Your Cardiovascular Health

When we use the term “hungry heart,” we are usually not speaking in the literal, scientific sense. The Hebrew bible associated all feelings with the heart, hunger and thirst included and quoted Abraham as saying we shall eat to “sustain our hearts.” However, today we tend to more often associate these signals with the mind and brain. However, is the whole body concept so far-fetched? After all, if our heart does fuel our body, and our stomach does fuel our heart, then maybe the heart can be hungry. And if the heart is hungry, what should we feed it?

The Food-Heart Connection
According to Julie Zumpano, RD, LD, and dietitian for the Preventive Cardiology and Nutrition Program at Cleveland Clinic says, “You can definitely reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease by eating certain foods every day. Try to eat foods that are in their natural form, as they come from the ground.” Here are some suggestions for a heart-healthy diet.

Fish
Fish are packed with omega-3’s to support your heart. Eating fish with a high omega-3 content, such as salmon and mackerel can help prevent the formation of blood clots, and help maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Salmon

Almonds
A handful of almonds contains a huge load of nutrients! Not only do these nuts have protein, magnesium, and fiber, but they are also high in vitamin E, biotin, monosaturated fats and antioxidants to protect against oxidative stress. They have also been shown to help reduce risk of heart disease and lower bad cholesterol levels.

Beans
Beans, beans, good for your heart! Beans are rich in soluble fiber and help decrease blood pressure and reduce inflammation. They are also full of phytochemicals that reduce oxidative stress, a known contributor to heart disease.

Pomegranates
These lovely seeded fruits have incredible anti-inflammatory properties to decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and blood disease. They also contain punicic acid, a fatty acid proven to combat risk factors associated with heart disease.

Pomegranates

Whole Grains
If you want to improve heart health, swap out that white bread for whole wheat. Web MD cites research showing that the consumption of just 25 grams of whole grains per day can reduce heart disease by 15%.” A diet rich in whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer,” says the website.

Red Wine
Don’t get too excited. Moderation is the key. Scientist suggest that one glass of red per day can raise HDL, or good cholesterol, which prevents blood clots and inflammation that can contribute to a stroke or heart attack. However, they also warn against too much of the good stuff, which may have a detrimental effect on mental and physical health.

Dark Chocolate
Bring on the dark chocolate to help protect your cardiovascular system. This wonderful treat contains flavanols. an antioxidant which has been shown to lower blood pressure, increase blood flow to the heart, and decrease the likelihood of blood clot formation.

Dark chocolate

Tomatoes
Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants, folic acid. and beta carotene, but it’s lycopene that really gives these veggies their heart healthy kick. Lycopene reduces risk for heart disease and reduces blood pressure, inflammation, and stroke which make these veggies a great pick for a snack or salad topper.

What do you feed your heart to keep it healthy? Let us know! We love to hear it!

Woman holding a glass of wine

A Little Glass of Wine Per Day

For a long time, red wine has been thought to be heart healthy. Wine Lovers rejoice whenever a new study comes out boasting of the many benefits drinking red (and sometimes white) wine can have for your heart, skin, bones, and state of mind. These studies even suggest that drinking a glass of wine a day is the key to many health issues. Do these supposed benefits actually do anything, or are we just looking for excuses to drink more wine? Maybe, but there are two main benefits to wine drinking that do seem to carry some weight.

Benefit: Resveratrol
One of the main benefits you hear about when it comes to drinking wine daily is the resveratrol in red grape skins. Because red wine is fermented in red grape skins you get a hefty dose of it with each glass. Resveratrol acts as an antioxidant, which help protect your cells from damage. If you have ever seen an add or read an article about skincare with vitamin E or vitamin C, you know all about the benefits of antioxidants for your skin. Molecules called free radicals can damage your skin cells, and antioxidant skin care helps to prevent this and heal your skin. For this reason, so many brands are coming out with skincare lines formulated with these vitamins to help brighten skin, prevent aging, and repair damage.

Free radicals don’t stop at the skin’s surface- they can cause the same kinds of damage inside your body, too! That’s why it’s important to eat (and drink!) things that are rich in antioxidants (and why every smoothie you buy will have the word “antioxidant” on the label). Luckily for all of the wine lovers out there, a glass of red wine per day can help prevent the kinds of cell damage that lead to heart disease and other health problems, such as osteoporosis. Resveratrol is linked to all kinds of health benefits, and we couldn’t be happier that drinking red wine gives you a dose of this highly sought after antioxidant!

Benefit: Decreased Chances of Depression
Though heavy alcohol consumption is not good for your brain’s chemistry, studies concluded that moderate wine drinking can actually decrease your chances of depression. One particular study warns that incidents of depression do increase with heavy alcohol consumption, but those who drank 2-7 glasses of wine seemed to be in the sweet spot. They had lower incidences of depression than both heavy drinker, and those who did not drink- so raise a glass to your health!

While not all claims about wine being healthy for you may be true, there are some benefits that do seem to have an effect on your health. The resveratrol in wine has a number of benefits ranging from heart disease prevention to bone health, and it is the main reason why wine is known has a heart healthy option.  Moderation is important with anything, so sticking to a little glass of wine a day is just right- cheers!

Woman enjoying the sun in the grass

One a Day for Health

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” We have all heard the phrase, and we know it’s about more than just apples! Making healthy choices every day can be hard, but consistently doing things each day to make healthy habits is the best thing you can do for your physical and mental health. There are all kinds of little things you can do each day to help you lead a healthier lifestyle!

Woman drinking water

Drink Water!
Whether you think 8 cups, a gallon, or some other amount is best, drinking one glass of water in the morning is a perfectly simple way to get ahead for the day. Whatever your goal is, starting your day with one glass of water down is going to make it so much easy to reach it!

Start Your Day with Green Tea
Green tea has caffeine, so it is a great choice for a morning pick-me-up. Unlike coffee, green tea can actually help you stay hydrated, as well as give you a boost of energy. Green tea also jump starts your metabolism and is rich in antioxidants- who wouldn’t want to add this stuff in their routine?

Woman exercising

Do Something Active for At Least 30 Minutes
This can be anything! Even going for a short walk can boost your energy and metabolism. Doing yoga, going for a bike ride, exploring your neighborhood, or taking a spin class are also great ways to be more active every day. Mix it up and try new things so you stay motivated and excited to get your 30 minutes (or more) of activity every day!

Replace One Unhealthy Food with a Healthy One
Dieting is hard. It’s certainly not fun to always be thinking about what you eat, more specifically what you can’t eat. A simple way to ease into making better diet choices is to simply replace one unhealthy food with something more nutritious each day, and working up from there if you choose. This could be as simple as choosing a good old-fashioned coffee instead of a sugary coffee drink, or skipping the pop tart and opting for a smoothie in the morning. This method keeps dieting from getting overwhelming and breaks it down to each meal or snack. Creating good habits that are satisfying and manageable is really the only way to turn a diet into a lifestyle change.

Woman drinking wine

Drink a Glass of Wine!
This one is our favorite. It is no secret now, after new studies have shown all of the possible benefits of resveratrol, that drinking wine can actually be healthy. This antioxidant just so happens to be found in the skins of red grapes, so when we drink wine, we are getting a healthy dose of resveratrol, which can improve heart health, protect your cells from damaging free radicals, and prevent muscle fatigue!

Making an effort to add healthy habits to your daily routine can work wonders when it comes to improving your overall health. The best part is, as you can tell by this list, not every healthy habit is going to be difficult or unpleasant! Some are downright fun (thank you resveratrol)! So don’t ditch the apples, but there are tons of other little things you can do each day for your health!

Woman drinking wine

Why does Red Wine Stain Teeth?

If you’re a red wine drinker, you’re probably quite familiar with the struggle of red wine stains on teeth. As far as why it happens, you can thank the high acidity levels combined with tannins and chromogens that like to take advantage of the plaque on your teeth. It’s not a particularly attractive look, but what are you supposed to do if you want to enjoy a nice glass of red without it showing up all over your pretty smile?

Drink Sparkling Water
Drinking sparkling water and subtly swishing it around in your mouth a bit can help remove the wine from your teeth before it could actually settle in. Having some water while you drink your wine is also a great way to help prevent getting a hangover while making sure you stay hydrated.

Skip Red Wine While Teeth Whitening
If you’re doing teeth whitening, you’re going to want to avoid red wine altogether. Your teeth are more porous so it’s more likely that they can get stained. Considering they’re more susceptible to staining, you should wait at least two days after the whitening is done before you start drinking red wine again.

Eat Hard Cheese
Wine and cheese go together like peanut butter and jelly, but eating hard cheese while you’re drinking wine can actually be good for preventing red wine stains on your teeth. You can thank the high amount of calcium from the hard cheese for that little benefit. Don’t hesitate to have some of your favorite cheese before and during your glass of red wine not only to help prevent stains but also because it’s typically a good idea anyway to have food on your stomach when you consume alcohol.

Woman brushing teeth

Wait to Brush Your Teeth
You may be tempted to brush your teeth right after drinking red wine in order to prevent staining on your teeth, but that could do more harm than good. It’s best if you actually brush and floss your teeth about an hour before you go out so you have a chance to remove the plaque that’s built up on your teeth while ensuring that you’re not going to have a nice mix of toothpaste flavor and red wine going on at dinner.

Drink Through a Straw
Okay so you’re probably not going to ask for a straw in a restaurant to start drinking out of your glass, but when you’re home, feel free to reach for one if you want to help prevent red wine stains on your teeth. It basically helps the wine bypass most of your teeth. Just keep in mind if you do this a lot that the repetitive motion of drinking through a straw could actually cause wrinkles around your mouth.

There’s no reason you can’t enjoy a good glass of red wine, but if you want to reduce the chances of stains popping up on your teeth, it’s best if you take precautions before, during, and after. A little effort can go a long way in helping to ensure your teeth stay as pearly white as possible.

Glass of wine surrounded by grapes and logs

Great Quality Homegrown Wines

For years, wine has been known to be a great drink for socializing, or just relaxing quietly at home. Now, studies have emerged showing that wine also has great health benefits. But good wines can be costly. However, you can make a great homemade wine for a fraction of what it would cost you to buy wine at a store. Find out how you can make a quality wine in your own home.

According to health and gardening writer Jeff Cox, the quality of the wine is determined by the grapevines, not the winemaker. Better grapes will make a better wine. A growing site is best with access to full sunlight, good drainage and nutrient poor soil. You can pick grapes at the peak of perfection, when it is not only ripe, but mature. Then the grapes should be brought to the winery (which may be your garage or basement) to begin the winemaking process.

The next step would be primary fermentation. Grapes are crushed to yield juice, pulp and skins. Next, you can stir in honey, which provides food for the yeast and sweetens the wine. Finally, add wine yeast, which can be bought in a store. Cover loosely with plastic. This process will allow the yeast to convert natural sugars to alcohol and will take about 10 days. A perfect temperature for primary fermentation is between 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Secondary fermentation comes next. During this process, you will be ‘racking’ or siphoning the wine from one container to the other, leaving the sediment that has settled to the bottom of the container behind. It’s best to store the wine in a glass container with an airlock. This will create a barrier from the environment to prevent airborne contaminants from spoiling your wine.

After 6 to 8 weeks it is time for the second racking. This is necessary to remove more sediment and it rids your wine of excessive carbon dioxide resulting from fermentation. Wait another 6 to 8 weeks before the next racking.
For the third racking, add one campden tablet per gallon of wine. This tablet is an antioxidant that also inhibits bacteria. It will make your wine taste good and prevent browning. You must wait another 4 to 6 months before the fourth racking also known as filtering.

Filtering is not necessary, but it will clear the wine and prevent sediment at the bottom. It can be done by a filtering machine and it will give your wine some sparkle. Once this is done, wait two more weeks to allow any traces of sediment to settle.

resveralife-great-quality-homegrown-wines-bottles

Bottling is your last step. For best results, use green wine glass bottles with cork seals that don’t have rough edges or nicks. Siphon the wine into bottles and leave room for the cork and air space of one inch between the cork and wine. Then leave wine bottles standing upright for 24 hours. Then turn bottles on their sides for long term storage. Age your bottle another 6 months to a year for a great homemade quality wine.

Do you make your wine at home? Are there any tips that you would like to add? Let us know in the comments section below.

Grapes in a vineyard

Organically Grown Grapes and Wine

Organic is one of the major buzzwords right now in all areas of life from products you use in your bathroom right down to your kitchen table. However, the title of organic can be confusing at times, and as a consumer, you want to know what you’re paying for. Although organic wine is not a hugely popular item in the United States, there are many winegrowers that are dedicated to producing organically grown grapes on sustainable vineyards. It would be a natural assumption that organically grown grapes produce organic wine, and if you think this you are right – to an extent. Read below to find out what organically grown grapes are and what types of wine these grapes can produce.

What are Organically Grown Grapes?
Like any other food item, in order for grapes to be labeled as organic, they must be grown in accordance with the principles of organic farming. In conventional wine growing, chemical fertilizers are used to protect the vines and to promote larger yields. The chemicals that are sprayed onto the fruits are also absorbed by the soil and they make their way into the leaves and the grapes being grown, meaning that these chemicals ultimately make it into the wine. Those who support organically grown grapes say that not only do these chemicals destroy the soil and surrounding land, but they also remove some of the very unique and distinct flavors that accompany grapes.

Growing grapes organically provides a unique set of challenges to winemakers. For these growers to be the most successful, they must choose the correct type of wine for the growing environment and region. One of the major concerns in growing organic grapes is the presence of mildew and rot pressures, because grapes affected by these factors will not be able to be used in the production of wine.

What is Organic Wine?
In the most basic definition, organic wine is any wine that is produced using organically grown grapes. However, there are some various legal definitions that can be quite confusing to many consumers. Currently, the only effective preservatives that allow wines to last for substantial periods of time are “non-organic.” This means that a wine can be made from organically grown grapes, but still not be considered an organic wine. The difference between organic and non-organic wines lies in the use of sulfites. Many winemakers use sulfites in very small quantities to preserve the wine and to give it a longer shelf life, but a true organic wine in the United States may not contain any added sulfites. If a wine has added sulfites, but is produced using grapes that have been grown organically, then the label may read “wine made from organic grapes.”

Growing grapes organically requires extreme patience, commitment and dedication, and many winemakers are taking up this challenge. Pick up a bottle of organic wine, or wine made from organic grapes and see how you like the taste of grapes produced responsibly and wine made without sulfites.

Woman having wine at sunset

Warm Temperatures and Fine Wine

As temperatures rise, it is often necessary to reconsider the wines you have been drinking throughout the winter. While crisp whites can have an equal appeal during both winter and summer, many of the most popular red wines feel overwhelmingly heavy when the weather gets hot. Keep reading for a brief guide to the best fine wines for warmer temperatures.

Sparkling Rose
So how can you make summer’s ubiquitous wine even better? Just add some Pinot Noir and bubbles. Sparkling Rose made from Pinot Noir is an all occasion spring and summer wine that features the flavors of flowers and succulent red fruits. Veuve Clicquot’s chef de caves, Dominique Demarville says, “sparkling rose is an excellent pairing with lighter dishes like fresh fish and seasonal salads. Yet, it also has the structure to stand up to heavier dishes like grilled meats.” Sparkling Rose has moderate alcohol, almost indiscernible tannins and a bright effervescence that make it absolute perfection for warm temperatures.

Albarino
If you want to try a white that is a bit out of the ordinary and that pairs perfectly with your favorite summer foods, try a Spanish variety Albarino. Marimar Torres, owner of Marimar Estate winery in California’s River Valley, says that Albarino is an ideal white for summer because it pairs wonderfully with summer favorites such as grilled seafood, sushi and tapas. “It’s very refreshing and delicious, minerally, with classic notes of key lime, white peach and a floral accent of hyacinth. It’s long in the end, with a zippy and crisp finish.”

Rose wine
Rose

Rose is without a doubt the summer wine, but you don’t have to wait until summer to enjoy it. Dry rose wine walks the line between white and red, and often features fruity notes of summer fruits like strawberries and cherries. Rose also has bright citrus acidity, which makes it a highly refreshing wine during warm weather. While many people claim the White Zinfandel is not a Rose wine, but is instead blush, this is not true. White Zinfandel is technically a Rose wine because it is made in the Rose style, it is just a far sweeter version of most Rose wines. Rose wines pair perfectly with summer foods from salads and seafood to backyard barbecues.

Sangiovese
While whites tend to dominate spring and summer, you don’t have to shelve all of your reds until the weather gets cold again. “Sangiovese, when expressing its red fruit and delicate vibrant nature, is a versatile, smooth and ideal summer wine. Sometimes, there is a smoked meat, leather character to the wine that is classic for the famous bistecca fiorentina, so bring on the barbecue,” says Shelley Lindgren, wine director and owner of California restaurants A16 and APQR. You aren’t limited to meat when serving a Sangiovese; the wine also pairs well with vegetable-based pasta dishes, particularly those that feature eggplant, zucchini and/or cherry tomatoes.

The idea that spring and summer weather necessitates white wine is a misconception. You can drink any type of wine that you want all year, but there are some wines that fit seasonally better than others. Experiment with the different types of wine listed above for a spring and summer full of incredible wine and food.

Glass of wine on a terrace during fall.

Summer to Fall Wines

The shift of one season into another is the perfect time to add some variety and change up your routine. Slowly, the days get a bit shorter and the air a little crisper. Fall is the perfect time of year to enjoy the changing scenery on your back porch with a relaxing glass of wine. With summer ending, and the weather becoming cooler, you may crave wines with a bit more body and substance than traditional summer wines have. Rose and white wines are popular during the summer and red wines are more commonly associated with winter. With fall bridging the gap, what wine varietals transition seamlessly from summer to fall? Below, Resveralife provides three suggestions for summer to fall wines.

Merlot
Though it is several months until winter, fall sees warm weather out and welcomes cooler temperatures. A smooth, round texture is characteristic of Merlot wine, which some experts consider to be the perfect “introductory” red wine for beginners. Merlot has very soft tannins, which is what is largely responsible for the wine’s smooth finish. Fruit notes typical of Merlot wines include blackberry, plum and some herbal flavors.

Cabernet Franc
One of the most popular wines worldwide is Cabernet Sauvignon, but this complex, highly tannic and full-bodied red can be a bit heavy for fall. Cabernet Franc is genetically the parent of Cabernet Sauvignon and it is often overlooked. However, Cabernet Franc is the perfect summer to fall wine as it is a lighter, brighter and less tannic red wine than its offspring, Cabernet Sauvignon. The main note in Carbernet Franc is often raspberries, though you may find leafy green, earthy or smoky aromas present as well .This is an elegant wine that smells like fall and is evocative of all the flavors and scents that define the fall season.

Oaked Chardonnay
Just because red wine tends to be what people gravitate to when cooler weather hits does not mean that you can’t enjoy a white wine during fall. Chardonnay tends to feature fruit flavors of lemon, pear, apple, pineapple, peach and passion fruit. An oaked Chardonnay is an excellent summer to fall wine as it is a rich, full-bodied white wine. In addition to the fruit flavors, oaked Chardonnays have flavors such as creme brulee, caramel, butter, caramelized sugar and pie crust. These flavors combined with the added richness and buttery texture of oaked Chardonnay make this wine one of the perfect summer to fall transition wines.

When it comes to wine, the “rules” can be a bit overwhelming, but there are guidelines that help you receive the most enjoyment possible from the wines you drink. Summer to fall wines tend to be heavier and richer than their summer counterparts, while still retaining some light crispness. Remember that the only real “rule” to drinking wine is that you should drink what you enjoy and what brings you pleasure. Experimenting with different wines during different seasons help broaden your horizons and may introduce you to wines that become your favorites.

Servers pouring red and white wine.

A Guide to Common Wine Varietals

The enjoyment of a great glass of wine is one of life’s simplest pleasures, though sometimes it may not seem simple to select your wine. Wines are available in so many varieties and have so many subtle, and not so subtle, differences that it can be downright overwhelming when you start to select wines. Often, when buying a Riesling or a Cabernet Sauvignon, you know what you are getting; which is wine produced using the Riesling or Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. But if you pick up a bottle with the word “varietal” on the label you may not be positive what it is that you’re choosing. Simply put, varietal means that the wine was produced using a specific wine grape. Further, in the United States, wine varietals indicate which grape is the dominant grape in the wine so that you have an idea of what flavor to expect. Some, but not all, bottles even include the percentages for every grape used in the blend. To make you more confident in your next wine purchase, Resveralife composed a guide to the most common wine varietals.

White Wines
Chardonnay – Wines produced using the Chardonnay grape are often medium to full bodied and complex. The most prominent notes in Chardonnays tend to be citrus fruits, melon, pineapples, peaches, butterscotch, butter and vanilla. There are other notes available such as apple, fig, pear, spice and hazelnut.

Riesling – With origins in Germany, Riesling is a grape that grows well in all wine districts. These wines are most typically fruity, fresh apple flavors are particularly prominent, and can be floral as well. Riesling ranges from dry to very sweet, with many having a semi-sweet taste with an acidity for balance.

Sauvignon Blanc – Sauvignon Blanc wines tend to be herbal and quite light. The herbal flavors often are reminiscent of grass or bell peppers. Sour fruits such as apple, pear and gooseberry or tropical fruits and blackcurrant, may also be present. Sauvignon Blanc wines tend to be crisp with a strong acidity.

Red Wines
Cabernet Sauvignon – One of the world’s most popular wines, Cabernet Sauvignons are full-bodied and complex. These wines tend to be a bit dry and firm. Flavors can range from currant, plum, black cherry and spice to olive, peppers, herbs, tobacco, vanilla and mint, to name a few. The oak barrels in which Cabernet Sauvignon wines are aged are responsible for vanilla or toasty cedar flavors the wine may have.

Pinot Noir – Another immensely popular red wine, Pinot Noir is fresh and delicate. These wines are smooth, rich and have soft tannins. The most prevalent notes of Pinot Noir wines are raisins with undertones of black cherry, raspberry and spice.

Merlot – Merlot is a supple and smooth wine with a round texture and very soft tannins. The popularity of this wine is caused by its ease of pairing (nearly anything can be paired with a Merlot) and its softness, which is not what one associates with many red wines. Wines produced using Merlot grapes feature cherry, black cherry, herbs, green olive and chocolate.

The wine selection process is a bit easier when you have a bit of background knowledge of common wine varietal. The label on a varietal wine will indicate which grape is the dominant grape in the blend, and may indicate the other grapes used as well. However, it is not required, and indeed it is illegal for a wine to label itself as a varietal is there is no dominant (75% or higher) grape used. When the word “varietal” is present on a label, it indicates what you can expect regarding flavor and finish. Branch out and try a different wine varietal for a new, and delicious, experience.