MODERATE WINE CONSUMPTION
In recent years, scientific research findings reveal that moderate wine consumption by adults may prove to be a healthy habit. This fact, that good health may be associated with moderate wine consumption, has been known since antiquity. What is more, contemporary progress in biological and medical research continues to bring to light new evidence pointing towards the beneficial effects of wine on health (J-curve; French paradox; etc).
The proof of the timeless relationship between wine and health comes to be further strengthened by the elements of the wine culture which, especially in the case of Greece, has developed over the centuries. From the ancient Greek symposia to today’s groups of friends sitting around the dinner table, moderate wine consumption, apart from being looked upon as a wholesome habit, is also regarded as key evidence of being sociability and a good quality of life.
In ancient years, wine (oenos) was kekramenos. In other words, it was mixed with water before its consumption. “Krasi”, the modern Greek word for wine, comes from precisely that ancient Greek word. Mixing the wine with water was a practice aiming at lessening the possibility of inebriation which could lead to subsequent hubris. Wine has always been the par excellence alcoholic beverage preferred by groups of friends sitting companionably together. Even today, at least in Greece, friends enjoying a glass of wine together frown upon those in the group who reach for the extra glass of wine since excessive drinking may lead to provocative or irresponsible behavior (including driving under the influence). In such cases, moderate wine consumption is taken as an indication of responsible behavior.
Wine in Moderation – Art de Vivre
Brand-name, standardized wine is one of the few natural agricultural products subjected to stringent tests including one which verifies the wine’s uniqueness and its particular organoleptic profile: Uniqueness –and quality- often linked to history, tradition and the particular climate and soil features of the wine’s place of origin. Subsequently, wine actually provides a bridge between urban center residents with nature and the exploration of the senses and is an integral part of Mediterranean nutrition which is considered one of the most wholesome types of nutrition. Thus, nothing could be truer than the motto “Wine in Moderation – Art de Vivre”. Yet this unique culture, the enjoyment derived from and the positive influence of wine on health are under the onslaught of those who insist on engaging in irresponsible and harmful alcohol consumption. Driving under the influence; binge drinking; alcohol consumption by minors and pregnant women cannot but have dangerous and harmful consequences on health. What is more, irresponsible wine consumption leads to serious problems on a personal, family, and community level!
Acknowledging the need to combat irresponsible wine consumption and its negative impact on health and the community alike, the European wine sector developed the “Wine in Moderation – Art de Vivre” which comprises the following key features:
- Scientific research and exchange of “best practices” (www.wineinformationcouncil.eu)
- Information and education aimed at stakeholders and consumers alike
- A self-regulation communication code
Through its National Inter-Branch Organization of Vine and Wine (EDOAO), the Greek wine sector participates in the “Wine in Moderation – Art de Vivre” program and has shown significant initiative in showcasing the program itself, the culture of wine, and good consumption practices. Through the development of an inter-scientific team composed of eminent and distinguished Greek scientists and researchers in the field of sciences and social studies, EDOAO contributes to the effort toward scientifically documenting issues regarding wine and health. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity and the sectoral agencies of related branches (oenologists, sommeliers, etc) EDOAO essays to promote the message of moderate and responsible wine consumption. In essence, the message attempts to convey the fact that in order for wine to become a true measure of enjoyment and culture it must be consumed in moderation only.
Responsible drinking guidelines
In order to fully and safely enjoy wine, all that is needed is to keep in mind some simple responsible drinking guidelines:
- Drink slowly and savor the wine
- Accompany wine with good food even if it is a light meal
- Accompany your wine drinking with sufficient amounts of water which offer the body hydration (in contrast with alcohol which dehydrates the system)
- Regular consumption of small amounts of wine is preferable to binge drinking large amounts on a single occasion
Based on available scientific evidence and different references provided by various public health authorities, it is a medically accepted fact that moderate consumption of alcohol especially of beverages with a low alcoholic content presents a low risk factor. According to the key responsible drinking guidelines governing moderate consumption, the following are set out:
- Up to 2 drink units of wine a day for women
- Up to 3 drink units of wine a day for men
- No more than 3 drink units of wine on any one occasion
- Underage people should not drink. Alcohol consumption should be avoided in certain situations such as when pregnant, when taking certain medication (please consult your physician), when operating heavy machinery, or when driving.
According to the basic responsible drinking guidelines, one (1) glass of wine at 12% ABV should not exceed 100ml. That amount is gradually reduced as the ABV increases, dropping to 60ml for liqueur wines of a high alcohol content.