Wine as Medicine: Part Three – The Modern Age

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By Dr. Philip Norrie, MBBS, MA, MSc, MSocSc (Hons), PhD, MD (cand) In the 18th century, doctors frequently prescribed wine for medicinal purposes. The leading English physician of his day, Dr. William Heberden (1710-1801), advocated the use of wine to benefit one’s health. As a result, the use of wine as a medicine increased in…

Wine as Medicine: Part Two – The Middle Ages

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By Dr. Philip Norrie, MBBS, MA, MSc, MSocSc (Hons), PhD, MD (cand) After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476, Europe entered the “Dark Ages” where many traditions and much learning were lost, including knowledge of Greek healing—which included the use of wine as a medicine. During this period, it was Byzantine physicians…

Wine as Medicine: Part One – The Ancient World

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By Dr. Philip Norrie, MBBS, MA, MSc, MSocSc (Hons), PhD, MD (cand) Wine was widely used as a medicine in the ancient world. In fact, wine is man’s oldest known medicine. It was well suited to this purpose for a variety of reasons. First, it was easy to make. Ancient winemakers used whatever grapes were…

The Wine Habits of Napoleon and Josephine

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When it came to wine, Napoleon Bonaparte was a creature of habit. Although he did drink Champagne to celebrate military victories (uncorked flamboyantly using a sabre), his lifelong wine of choice was Chambertin from Burgundy. At one time, it had been the favorite wine of Louis XIV, and in the late 18th century, it was…

Wine with a Splash of Gin?

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For variety sake, have you ever considered mixing your wine with beer? Or schnapps? Or vodka? As novel, quirky or absurd as these combinations might seem, they are not unusual. In fact, cocktails made by combining wine with beer, spirits or liqueurs are a longstanding tradition. The Black Velvet, for example, which is a combination…

Why Are Ships Christened with Wine?

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Wine has been a part of many cultural traditions for thousands of years. One familiar tradition is the smashing of a bottle of Champagne against the bow of a ship as part of a ship christening ceremony. But what is the origin of this tradition?  For thousands of years, many cultures have christened their ships,…

Founding Fathers Wine Fun Facts

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Several of the United States’ Founding Fathers were fond of wine. Here are some fun facts on their interests from Thomas Jefferson on Wine by John Hailman. George Washington was particularly fond of Madeira. He ordered Madeira directly by the barrel straight from the best producers on the island. He also ordered vine cuttings from…

Wine in Ancient Greece

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Ancient Greece is one of the oldest and most important wine-producing civilizations, with evidence of production dating back 6,500 years. The climate, terroir and native vine stocks of the Greek islands enabled the production of a wide variety of superior quality wine. Not only did the Greeks export wine throughout Europe, but they also established…

Wine in Ancient Egypt

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When someone mentions Egypt’s King Tut, most of us think of his dazzling god mask. But did you know that his tomb also held an impressive stash of wine? Here’s more on the cultural significance of wine in ancient Egypt. In ancient Egypt, wine, referred to as irp, was enjoyed almost exclusively by kings and…

Fun Facts: Thomas Jefferson and Wine

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Thomas Jefferson’s fondness for wine is well known. Here are some fun facts on his lifelong interest from Thomas Jefferson on Wine by John Hailman. •Thomas Jefferson was interested in wine from an early age. It is believed he was first introduced to fine wines by the royal governor of Virginia, Francis Fauquier, who Jefferson…