Laboratory tests have shown that a chemical found in the skin of grapes could halt the development of most cases of the disease.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women, and almost 45,000 cases are diagnosed in the UK every year.
Now scientists have found that a chemical called resveratrol, which is also found in blueberries, bilberries, cranberries and peanuts, can suppress the creation of tumour cells.
The chemical works by blocking the way that oestrogen combines with DNA in a woman's bodies to create the cancer.
Researchers found that even low levels of resveratrol, the equivalent to that found in a typical glass of red wine, was enough to create the effect.
"We believe that this could stop the whole progression that leads to breast cancer down the road," said Eleanor Rogan, from the University of Nebraska Medical Centre, who led the study.
The scientists now plan to test the findings, published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, in larger human trials.
Resveratrol has previously been linked to anti-aging properties.
The chemical is just one of a number of so called "healthy chemicals" found in red wine, called polyphenols.