The Relationship Between Us and Wine

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Hailing from medieval Europe, wine has been around for centuries and there are even archeological traces of the fermented drink in ancient China, dating back 7000 BC which was a thousand years older than the traces found in Greece. However, the drink was popularized by the Greeks through religion, perpetuated by the Romans and then adopted by the Jews and Christians – apparent in the Biblical stories of Jesus which survives to this day where churchgoers take communion to remind them of the sacrifices their God has made for them, with a sip of red that signifies the blood of Jesus Christ. 

Today, wine is largely regarded as a celebratory drink. There is something about a bottle of wine that instantly adds a touch of sophistication to any event. Perhaps it is the price tag, its taste or cultivation, but there is no denying that a deep red or a clear white makes a perfect addition to a social event, a house party or even as a gift. It works on all occasions. Even if one is not well versed in the world of wine, there are websites that provide wine ratings where you can choose your next gift from, ensuring that the bottle you are holding will show people how cultured and well rounded you are – especially in the knowledge of a good wine. 

Not everyone has an education in winery nor is everyone well versed in the fine art of wine tasting even though there are plenty of courses all over the world (but especially in Europe and Australia). Being knowledgeable about wine is a worldly trait, one that is picked up over the years and presumably all over the world which lends to its air of sophistication. Therefore, an extensive knowledge regarding the alcoholic beverage will earn you points in your social circles, whether at the office or with your relatives or with your mates. 

Aside from helping you look much more worldly and classy, wine is supposedly good for your health, some even say it might keep cancer and even Alzheimer’s disease at bay. Experts suggest that since polyphenol – a plant based compound which is an antioxidant able to fight off free radicals and cancer cells – is found in grapes and grapes are used in the brewing of wine, it should go without saying that wine contains the cancer-fighting compound. Most medical professionals will recommend around seven drinks for each woman per week whereas men should have a maximum of two drinks every night, any more and it’s too much. 

Dating back to the 1970s, there was a clear distinction between Americans and the French. The former were suffering from obesity and heart disease and while the latter was consuming more saturated fat and enjoying wine, they were at a lower risk of developing heart disease, giving birth to the French paradox. Scientists are still scrambling over themselves trying to figure out how it is possible when one’s diet is (in theory) a direct reflection of their health. While some believe that it could be due to the genetic makeup of Frenchmen, they are those who are still dubious and are hoping to find that particular genome – or lack thereof – in order to disprove that theory and in the meantime, find one that explains it all. However, it is due to that example in history that humankind has been led to believe that moderate drinking is actually good for you. But can it really reduce the risk of heart disease and also help you avoid high blood pressure, diabetes, and weight gain?

The data that is used to determine health benefits are often not the most ideal as it isn’t controlled enough – unhealthy or sick people are more likely to abstain from drinking and that exempts that particular demographic and would tip the scale favorably towards alcohol in moderation being beneficial. To counteract this, a recent study which followed the consumption habits of twins, found that the red-wine drinker has a healthier gut than the one who abstains from alcohol. While nay-sayers might tell you that it isn’t red wine which is keeping red wine enthusiasts healthy, the fact is that healthier people are more predisposed to choosing wine over beer or other more harmful substances and it is undeniable that wine-drinkers are generally more fit, well off and more educated than their non-wine-appreciating counterparts. 

In every study, there will always be reports that say otherwise. One study in particular rules out the possibility of cancer prevention through red wine consumption as one would have to drink an excessive amount of red wine in order to consume enough of the compound for it to be effective, which ultimately defeats the purpose as excessive amounts of alcohol consumption increases one’s chances of developing cancer. According to that study, it is far more effective to simply consume grapes and other antioxidants rather than obtaining it through wine.

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