Tag Archives: wine

Wine as medicine

imagesWine and health is an issue of considerable discussion and research. Wine has a long history of use as an early form of medication, being recommended variously as a safe alternative to drinking water, and antiseptic, for treating wounds, a digestive aid, and as a cure for a wide range of ailments including lethargy, diarrhea, and pain from child birth.

Ancient Egyptian Papyri and Sumerian tablets dating back to 2200 BC detail the medicinal role of wine, making it the world’s oldest documented man-made medicine.[2] Wine continued to play a major role in medicine until the late 19th and early 20th century, when changing opinions and medical research on alcohol and alcoholism cast doubt on the role of wine as part of a healthy lifestyle and diet.

In the late 20th and early 21st century, fueled in part by public interest in reports by the United States news broadcast 60 minutes on the so-called “French Paradox”, the medical establishment began to re-evaluate the role of moderate wine consumption in health.

Early medicine was intimately tied with religion and the supernatural, with early practitioners often being priests and magicians. Wine’s close association with ritual made it a logical tool for these early medical practices. Tablets from Sumerian culture and papyri from Ancient Egypt dating to 2200 BC include recipes for wine based medicines, making wine the oldest documented man made medicine.

250px-Château_Lafite_Rothschild_and_glassThe French Paradox

The 1990s and early 21st century saw a renewed interest in the health benefits of wine, ushered in by increasing research suggesting that moderate wine drinkers have lower mortality rates than heavy drinkers or teetotalers*. In November 1991, the U.S. news program 60 Minutes aired a broadcast on the so-called “French Paradox”. Featuring the research work of Bordeaux scientist Serge Renaud, the broadcast dealt with the seemingly paradoxical relationship between the high fat/high dairy diets of French people and the low occurrence of cardiovascular disease among them. The broadcast drew parallels to the American and British diets which also contained high levels of fat and dairy but which featured high incidences of heart disease. One of the theories proposed by Renaud in the broadcast was that moderate consumption of red wine was a risk-reducing factor for the French and that wine could have more positive health benefits yet to be studied. Following the 60 Minutes broadcast, sales of red wine in the United States jumped 44% over previous years.

And so, based on all the above ;), I consider drinking a daily glass of wine my beauty régime, and believe me, it’s working ;)! Santé**!!! 🙂

Thank you, Wikipedia, for all this information!

*Teetolars are people who don’t drink alcohol

**Santé – French for Health!, in other words, ‘to (your) Health’!



Wine Quiz (4)

475396,1326227577,2Here are some odd but interesting questions and their answers — knowledge you don’t really need to have ;), although such trivia does make life more interesting!

Q.1 — What is the longest recorded flight of a champagne cork?

Q.2 — What is the name of the dimple at the bottom of a wine bottle?

Q.3 — On which day and month is the Beaujolais Nouveau (New Burgundy Wine) officially released for sale each year?

Q.4 — Decanting wine is done for what two purposes?

Q.5 — During Prohibition, what one specific purpose were wines made for?



A. 1 — 177 feet 9 inches

A.2 — The punt

A.3 — The third Thursday in November

A.4 — Separating sediment and for aerating the wine, popularly known as letting the wine breathe

A.5 –Sacramental wine

I’ll leave you all with an interesting quote by novelist Robert Louis Stevenson: “Wine is bottled poetry!” Anyone disagree? 😉


Easy Wine Appreciation :)

2014-01-28 22_00_04I was in Boston this past weekend, spending quality time with family which always includes a gourmet meal or two, rural New England walks, and at least one visit to a bookstore! The bookstore visit this time was to The Concord Bookstore, on Main Street, in Concord, Massachusetts—a lovely and peaceful privately owned bookstore where we browsed for a while and then bought a few books. With this blog in mind, the book I bought is a fabulous ‘guide to becoming a wine expert’, or so claims the author, Richard Betts :)! Considered one amongst the top 200 Master Sommeliers in the world, he says his goal is to help people think of wine as a ‘grocery’, not as a ‘luxury’! This man sure speaks my language, and for sure deserved the $20 I paid for the book!

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In his book, called ‘The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert’ he writes, “when my work is done, we’ll all have wine like civilized people do the world over — at lunch, at dinner, with food, family, and friends. Doesn’t matter what it is — heck, pour it out of a pitcher, pull it out of a box, drink it out of a tumbler — just as long as it makes you smile.” I completely agree 🙂 — this is the spirit we should approach wine with! You all can rest assured there’ll be sharings from this book in the next few weeks — the author makes it SO easy to understand and appreciate wine. Tucked away in the book, is a map (picture here), to help you understand the different features of different wines the world over, and evaluate for yourself which ones are right for your palate!

Thank you Richard Betts 🙂 — live long and prosper!


How many grapes in a bottle of wine?

2014-01-09 16_53_57On my recent trip to California I walked into a housewares store and found some very interesting and funny paper napkins. One of these had two wine-related queries and answers on each napkin, with a total of 40 questions in the packet of 20 napkins. What fun, I thought, and bought them for the Wine and Wine Trivia category of this blog! Here’s a quiz for wine lovers, from this set of napkins. The questions are in the first part, the answers in the second — and you guessed right that there’ll be more such quizzes, from these napkins! Enjoy 🙂

Q1. What’s the average number of grapes required to make a bottle of wine?

Q2. How many varieties of wine grapes exist in the world?

Q3. How many bubbles are there in a bottle of champagne?

Q4. What 3 types of grapes are used for sparkling wine and champagne production?

Q5. What is “plonk”?

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A1. About 600-800.

A2. 10,000 documented; 230 used.

A3. 49 million bubbles 🙂

A4. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier.

A5. Inexpensive or poor quality wine.

I hope you’re happy that you’re smarter now, than when you started reading this post, even if it’s only wine-related information 😉 — and if your score was 0, please don’t be mad and serve me ‘plonk’ when I next see you 😉


Wine snob no more…

2013-12-12 15_28_45There was a time I used to think that since there’s so much to know and learn about wine, I might as well stick with French wines only and not waste my time and money on any other kind. French wines were supposed to be the best, right? So, why bother with what else was out there! For years I was faithful to this idea till I took a series of wine appreciation courses. I still remember the introductory course I went for. It consisted of a series of five mini-courses on the Old World (from Europe) and the New World (from Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, and United States) wines. I was pretty astonished at the quality out there, and there was no looking back for me. Gone was my stuffy attitude and as I moved past ‘drinking only French’, I started looking for the good value table wines.

2013-12-12 15_29_49One such that I found is the Portuguese Dão Meia Encosta. Here’s a close up of the label of the wine I had yesterday, so you can see and appreciate the Portuguese accents on the words :)! Dão is a Portuguese wine region situated in the Região Demarcada do Dão in the Dão-Lafões sub region of the Centro, Portugal. It is one of the oldest established wine regions in Portugal.Wine prices in Quebec tend to be much higher than in the other Canadian provinces, in the U.S. and Europe. Despite that, at CA$11.50 this is wonderful spicy wine to drink with meals. It is ruby red, and on the nose are hints of cherries, mint, cinnamon, and pepper. It has enough tannins to beautifully round it off.

Recommended food pairings are grilled meats, chicken, fish, medium cheeses and I would add grilled vegetables to the range. On your next visit to the liquor store, remember to bring home a bottle. When you’re having one of the above mentioned dishes, cool the bottle to 12 – 16 degrees, decant for about 20 – 30 minutes and you’re all set to enjoy a very lovely wine. Saude!*

*Saude, pronounced ‘sah-oo jee’ is ‘Cheers’ in Portuguese 🙂