Definition - What does Carotenoids mean?

Carotenoids are pigments in some plants that are responsible for orange and yellow hues in fruits and vegetables. They help plants absorb light energy for photosynthesis.

Carotenoids are found in grapes before veraison, and depending on the varietal they may increase or decrease following veraison. They have also been found in some wines, which have some health benefits, mainly as antioxidants.

WineFrog explains Carotenoids

The carotenoids which are found in wine grapes and wine are beta-carotene and lutein. Levels of each vary with each varietal and therefore in each wine. However, they seem to be in higher concentrations in Port wine.

Scientists believe that the concentration of caretenoids in Port is attributed to the higher altitudes and sun exposure where the grapes are grown (Douro). This in combination with the stress the grapes undergo with dry farming is believed to be why the amounts found in the must and finally the wine, are significantly higher than in other wines.

These caretenoids are antioxidants which can add to the health benefits of wine, but also play a role in the aromatic compounds of a wine.

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