Events 23 November 2022

WiM and DWA at the 43rd OIV world congress of Vine and Wine in Ensenada, Mexico

Every year, one member state of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) invites scientists from all over the world to present and discuss new research data. This year, the host was Mexico and Wine in Moderation (WiM) and the Deutsche Weinakademie (DWA) participated with a presentation.

Approximately 1200 wine and viticultural experts from all over the world followed the invitation of OIV (Organisation Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin) and came to Ensenada in Baja California, Mexico, where the 43rd congress took place from October 31st to November 4th. As representative of WiM, the Wine Information Council and DWA, Ursula Fradera, Scientific Coordinator, presented the future Wine in Moderation Educational tool for wine professionals as well as the topic “Wine consumption and cancer risk in context”.

“Wine consumption and cancer risk in context”

The context is important

At the beginning of her talk on the topic of wine and cancer risk, Ursula Fradera emphasized that while existing research is largely consistent with regards to the harms of heavy/excessive drinking and binge drinking in terms of both cancer risk and other health problems, there are disparate messages regarding the safety of light to moderate consumption of wine/alcoholic beverages.

Most organizations advocate zero alcohol consumption to prevent various cancers. They argue that there is ‘no safe limit of alcohol’, mainly based on an increased cancer risk, these can often be found in modelling studies. However, in these modelling studies, important influencing factors for the cancer risk such as drinking pattern, type of alcoholic beverage and other lifestyle factors are not considered.

Lifestyle factors – important influence on cancer risk

Since cancer is a multi-factorial disease, which takes a long time to develop, the cancer risk cannot be evaluated in isolation. Ms. Fradera explained that lifestyle factors such as eating and drinking patterns are important risk factors for cancer. Accordingly, the consumption of alcoholic beverages cannot be accurately evaluated in insolation from the other risk factors. The effect of alcohol on cancer risk will depend on the context, such as whether the alcoholic beverage is consumed with or without a meal, the type of foods consumed as well as smoking at the same time.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), one third of the cancers could be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle (such as avoiding smoking, maintaining a normal body weight, being physically active, avoiding excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages and keeping a healthy dietary pattern). This therefore shows that the influence of alcohol cannot be evaluated in isolation. Indeed, when light to moderate consumption as well as the type of alcoholic beverage were assessed in the context of a Mediterranean Diet and a healthy lifestyle, the results were different, and no increased cancer risk was observed.

Wine and Mediterranean-type eating pattern

The Mediterranean Diet (Med Diet) is considered as one of the healthiest diets in the world. The Mediterranean cuisine includes not only vegetables, fruit, fish, cheese, nuts and olive oil but also a glass of wine with the meal. Several meta-analyses confirm that a higher adherence to the Med diet is associated with a lower cancer risk. Wine provides large amounts of several bioactive compounds – polyphenols – that may be potentially responsible for some of the wine’s anti-cancer effects and the observed positive health effects of light to moderate wine consumption may be – at least in part – linked to the protective effects of specific bioactive ingredients in wine (polyphenols) as well as in the foods consumed, with higher abundance in the Mediterranean diet.

 Ms. Fradera concluded that considering the scientific evidence of wine/alcohol consumption in the context of the Mediterranean diet and a healthy lifestyle, no increased risk with light to moderate intake (for women up to 1.5 glasses of wine or up to 20 g of alcohol/day, for men: up to 2 glasses of wine or up to 30 g of alcohol/day) is observed.

New education package for wine professionals – from responsible service to a sustainable consumption of wine

In a 2nd presentation, Ursula Fradera presented – on behalf of Nadia Frittella – the various modules of the new Wine in Moderation education tool for wine professionals which will be announced soon. She introduced the basics of the Wine in Moderation initiative and highlighted the fact that education of all wine professionals plays an important role for a sustainable and responsible consumption of wine.

The many questions at the end of her presentation showed the enormous interest in this topic but also the need for education about sustainable wine consumption. More information about the new Wine in Moderation educational tool will be released next Spring.

Geng T, Zhu K, Lu Q, Wan Z, Chen X, Liu L, Pan A, Liu G. Healthy lifestyle behaviors, mediating biomarkers, and risk of microvascular complications among individuals with type 2 diabetes: A cohort study. PLoS Med. 2023 Jan 10;20(1):e1004135. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1004135. PMID: 36626356; PMCID: PMC9831321.