Monday, October 22, 2007

To Drink or Not to Drink Wine!

Consumption of red wine increased by 44% in the United States after the
airing of the French Paradox as reported by Morley Safer on 60 Minutes back in November of1991. Ever since, more and more research seems to confirm the healthful benefits of drinking red wine. Its those nice little
polyphenols at work when we consume red wine. There is even hope for diabetics as recent research indicates. And of course we know that a little wine is good "for thy stomach's sake." St.Paul, in his letter to Timothy advised drinking wine for stomach and other ailments. Take your pick as to which translation of the bible you prefer, the advise is the same. Paul may not have known the reason why it worked but it was sound advice. Conquering Roman armies always mixed wine with their drinking water because of concerns about the safety of their water supplies. And wasn't it nice of them to plant vineyards all over Europe while doing their conquering? Fast forward a couple of thousand years and you have governments trying to restrict the consumption of wine.
The imposition of the National Prohibition on the American public from 1920-1933 was a disastrous experiment doomed to failure. A lot of people suddenly seemed to have found religion as the consumption of sacramental wines soared. Of course the repeal of prohibition gave governments a wonderful source of tax revenues. UK wine drinkers are in for a tax increase on their wines if Health minister Dawn Primarolo has her way.
Middle class wine drinkers came under attack as she proclaimed:'[They] have drunk too much for too long.This has to change.'
"Should we be worried about middle-class wine drinking?" was the question posed by The Daily Telegraph. Some very interesting comments were received in response to the article.
I was not even aware that I am only supposed to drink 28 units of wine weekly until I read this report filed by Times wine critic Jane MacQuitty
Click on the lovely glass of red wine and tell me how many units I was drinking. I don't know and I certainly don't care. I pour myself a glass of a good red wine and then prepare to enjoy. So "Please" leave us wine drinkers alone. But as Plato once said: "Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber."

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Waiter, there is a carbon footprint in my wine!!

A recent survey in the UK has shown that the public is ready to accept light-weight bottles for their wines. I discussed the issue of moving from the standard 500 gram wine bottle to a 300 gram bottle
in a September 2006 entry on my blog and the reasoning behind it. At the same time there is a movement to increased bulk shipments of wine. Better technology in bulk shipments, without sacrificing the quality of wine, will see more and more international wine companies moving in that direction in order to reduce their carbon footprint.
Plastic wine bottles will also be weighing in on the issue and as the technology improves we may see more public acceptance. And it is all about "carbon footprint". What is a carbon footprint? According to the founders of this family business, "A Carbon Footprint is a measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of green house gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide." And yes it is a business, complete with job opportunities. Now that Vice-President Al Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize I am sure his fees will increase nicely. After all, he is leaving a big footprint. "Peace" prize? I guess there is nobody out there who has done much for peace these days, but I did not think that green house gases were considered a war. War on terror? Yes. War on greenhouse gases or global warming?
Back to bottles now. OK, apart from lighter weight bottles costing less to ship, will there be an increased breakage problem? And if so there will be a lot of messy foot prints. At least Champagne and sparkling wines won't see light weight bottles any time soon. They have to withstand a lot of pressure.

Considering that the average tire is inflated to somewhere between 30 and 40 psi, these bottles have to be able to handle up to 100 psi. As you can see, in spite of my giving some do's and dont's about how to saber a bottle of sparkling wine, my friend Kevin Doyle caught this moment of pressure and breakage on film. As I said no light weight bottles in the near future.
And finally here is another footprint; my kind.
Kristoff Coates, Founder of Grapefoot, is working diligently to constantly improve the Beta version of this website. He was kind enough to include some issues of my newsletter in his "All About Wine" section.
Until next time, enjoy your wines, no matter what form of packaging they may be using.