The recent and essential reports on the biological activity of the principal phytophenols of Vitis vinifera and wine, with special attention to resveratrol, are reviewed. The phytophenols are arbitrarily divisible into single-ring phenolic acids, bisphenols including stilbenes, tricyclic phenols (flavonoids) and their subclasses, and oligomeric and polymeric species, the proanthocyanidins and anthocyanidins. Their precursors and the stilbenes, including resveratrol with its analogs and conjugates, appear to be of preventative and possibly therapeutic value in atherosclerosis and certain neoplastic and inflammatory afflictions. The probable mechanisms are free radical scavenging and selective interference with a multitude of factors affecting the division cycle of rapidly and abnormally proliferating mammalian cells. Reviewed are studies of natural occurrence, extraction methods, bioavailability, analytical detection, and metabolism of resveratrol, as well as its effects on cancer and inflammation, atherosclerosis, and neurons. Because grape extracts are a convenient alimentary source of salutary phytochemicals to supplement currently prevalent occidental food and resveratrol appears to be especially useful, it could conveniently be added in biosignificant amounts to the grape extracts provided that their extraction, contents, and quality controls are instituted.