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The Properties of Wine


These properties are precious, innumerable, and irreplaceable. Before enumerating them, however, it is necessary to fix the daily limits to be imposed on the consumption of wine. In fact, in order to take advantage of its numerous virtues, it is certainly necessary to not exceed the daily limits, generally accepted by specialists in the field and confirmed by laboratory work. These are taken together by Professor Tremoliers at the last congress on alcoholism. When it comes to adult subjects, in good health and whose food ration is sufficient and balanced "the body can normally oxidize at maximum one liter of wine for a man and three quarters of a liter for a woman. One of the conditions is not met (malnutrition, for example), the alcohol is oxidized by toxic processes that justify its harmfulness.

When this daily dose is not exceeded and in addition the precaution is taken to distribute it between the two main meals, the wine can then play its role of tonic and beneficial food.

It is necessary to consider first of all that, by general rule, the normal and healthy individual remains within these limits. Alcoholism, long seen as a fatal passion, as a vice, is increasingly considered in medical pathology, as a disease. This notion of "alcoholic disease" of which Jellinek was the great defender, has been accepted in the French medical circles around 1956. It shows that alcoholism is a "physical submission complicated with a mental obsession" and whose victims are subjects who suffer a particular psycho-affective state, it does not matter that he does not become an alcoholic and there is no reason to condemn the wine to a ostracism that does not deserve and to give complex of alcoholism to good people who use it prudently.

It is classic and proven that the ravages of alcoholism are recorded precisely in regions that do not have the joy of growing the vine in their soil. This is not to say that the great wine drinkers are not exposed to the consequences of the abuse of alcoholic beverages. But on a background of personality disturbed by disorders of different origins, it is about the consumers of snacks, cocktails, and industrial spirits, everything that contains alcohol of origin, good or bad, in which alcoholism produces real havoc. It is to them that I have had occasion to detoxify in the services of the psychiatric hospital and never to honest and reasonable consumers of good wines.

Food Value of Wine

Wine is certainly a drink, since it contains almost 900 grams of water per liter, which allows to say to some kind of jokers that "every wine drinker is a water drinker who is ignored in its own internal as such" ... But the richness of the elements that make it make it, in fact, a true liquid food of incomparable virtues. And from there we must also confess that if the modern and perfected analytical methods allow to separate and dosify the components of the wine, they do not reveal to us and may never be able to do so. The part of the miracle and mystery that gives to the wine all its value of symbolic and sacred food. Well-being, the euphoria that invades body and soul when we taste good wine, cannot be translated into milligrams of this or that element.

We must, of course, be content with those whom wine has wanted to reveal itself, since the various elements that compose it vary from one wine to another, depending on the land, the vineyards, the vintage, the age of bottling, and, above all, according to the care he has received during his upbringing.

Caloric value

It depends on two factors: alcoholic degree of the wine and sugar that it contains.

Although we did not consider wine more than a dissolution of alcohol in water (disdaining all other elements that come into its composition) wine would already be a food or at least a food of savings. Indeed, alcohol, as proven by the work of Atwater in 1902, is used immediately by the body (contrary to what happens with sugars, fats and amino acids) to economize, to a certain extent, other energetic elements. However, it cannot guarantee more than 50% of the agency's basic expenses, ie 600 to 800 calories (works by Schaffer, Le Breton and Dontcheff).

But we will not repeat it enough, the 10 centiliters of alcohol per liter, whose content reproaches the wine, have no relation to the same amount of alcohol if it was absorbed in its pure state. Wine is simply a solution of 10% ethyl alcohol. Intimately mixed in wine, a living complex, alcohol, inert matter, makes you take advantage of its real qualities, the whole of this complex.

The number of calories that the organism brings a liter of wine varies from 600 to 1000 with an average of 600 to 700 for red wine. White liquor wines (type Sauternes) rich in sugar, are more caloric than dry white wines. Natural sweet wines, liqueur wines, once loaded with sugar and alcohol, are the most caloric wines. Certainly, in our countries of high standard of living, this source of calories may seem of very important importance, since our actual problem rather the treatment of lowering a too rich ration. But does not this utilitarian fuel, when it comes from wine, seem to possess the miraculous virtue of engendering euphoria, enthusiasm, and creative intellectual activity?

The vitamins

Wine brings to the body all the vitamins contained in the grape, and even if it were only for this richness of vitamins, we believe that it would not be an exaggeration to describe wine as a "living drink".

We found it in our daily wine.

Vitamin C, whose action on general tonus, physical form, resistance to fatigue and cold, is well known. Thus the body of a sportsman needs 2 or 3 times more vitamin C than an individual at rest.

The vitamin C (C2) saving factor of vitamin C, which increases the resistance and produces a real effect on certain states of asthenia with hypotension. Lavollay and Sevestre attribute, of course, the tonic action of the wine to its vitamin P content.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) considered for nutritional use. It participates in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins A, Bl and PP and corticosurrenalian hormones.

Vitamin B3 is a powerful stimulant for the functioning of cells. Andross has also shown that productivity increases when a significant amount of these vitamins are supplied to certain groups of workers or other persons who make great sustained physical efforts.

Mineral salts and trace elements

The human organism cannot live without them. Sulfur, chlorine, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, etc., are indispensable for our existence. Now the organism can assimilate them only in the form of organic salts, that is to say, combined with substances of the animal kingdom or of the vegetable kingdom; is unable to assimilate them, either in a simple form or in the form of mineral salts (apart from some exceptions, such as cooking salt). In the wine the mineral salts are incorporated precisely in its assimilable form. If the absolute lack in mineral salts is rare, the relative lack of them is quite frequent and wine is therefore a not insignificant source of these precious substances.

Biochemical effects of wine on the organism

Even if it were only for the contribution of calories, vitamins, and mineral salts that wine makes us under a particularly assimilable and pleasant form we must consider it as one of our most precious elements of nutrition.

Wine facilitates digestion

St. Paul was already persuaded of this virtue. Thus he said to Timothy: "Stop drinking no more than water. Have some wine because of your stomach and your frequent discomfort." For now, thanks to its natural acidity, wine increases salivary secretion. This is an excellent appetizer, one that from the first drinks puts the body in good condition to digest. But it is, of course, the only valid natural and healthy appetizer, which does not risk, contrary to what other adulterated drinks do, to "open the appetite, like certain false keys open the locks, destroying them according to the occurrence of a celebrated physician.

The secretion of the gastric juice is also excited and enhanced by the wine. This drink also contains diastases analogous to those of our digestive juices, which allows it to come to the aid of tired and deficient stomachs. Its tannin is an exciting fiber of the entire digestive system.

Regular use of a good wine, acting as a stimulant of intestinal secretions also helps in the fight against constipation, ailment that afflicts many of our contemporaries.

But above all, it has been proven that the wine facilitates powerfully the digestion of the protheses (meats, fish, oysters, cheeses). It is, according to Genevois, the only drink that allows the easy digestion of them thanks to its ionic acidity and its weak osmotic pressure. Now, with the elevation of the standard of living, the food ration of the modern man is singularly enriched in pro-noble noble of animal origin, a luxury that was once reserved for the wealthy classes. The wine, marveling beautifully with these proteins, first of all makes a perfect and greedy alliance, before facilitating its digestion. Thus the gastronomic agreement of the meats, fish, seafood, crustaceans and cheeses with the wine that suits them is not only an epicurean refinement, but also a wise measure of digestive hygiene, scientifically proven.

Wine is an antiseptic

The bactericidal power of wine has been recognized for a long time. The Sumerians used wine-based balms and ointments, and our ancestors used it instinctively to wash the wounds and disinfect the wounds. This bactericidal action of wine is due not only to the alcohol they contain but also to their acids, to their tannin, to sufurose acid and to ethers.

It has been found that one cubic centimeter of white wine, mixed with an equal amount of broth, and killed 99% of coli bacilli and cholera bacilli and typhoid fever. It is not surprising, therefore, that wine should be distributed to the army when there were epidemics of dysentery, as the "Diary of Percy" (Prussian Campaign in I807) reveals to us. "The dysentery makes progress, the army suffers from it, but it is weakly distributed, it came to the troops because it is the best preservative."

Likewise, the gastronomic custom that consists of accompanying with a good white wine, an oyster or seafood tasting, is also a notable hygienic precaution. And we thought, not without emotion, that the absorption of water colored red in our childhood (which has not made us alcoholics) was not as stupid as it might seem to anti-alcohol associations.

The wine has antitoxic properties

They make it a therapeutic agent already proven in the prophylaxis of contagious and febrile diseases and certain toxic infections, such as influenza. The good hot and flavored wine of other times, continues being an exceptional antigripal element although the drug range has been widened considerably. This antitoxic action has also been proven in the prevention of intoxications caused by certain alkaloids such as espartein and strychnine.

Likewise, the picking and the cooking to the wine of the hunt are revealed like a prudent prevention of alimentary hygiene. It is true that the use of wine has the main purpose of softening the slightly tough foods and enhancing the flavor of them, but when it comes to a hunting piece, which has been defended in the course of it and whose flesh is filled with fatigue toxins or whose wounds are dirty, the wine avoids the risk of food poisoning.

The wine has anaphylactic properties

These properties have been emphasized by Professor Weinssenbach, who advises macerating the strawberries with red wine a quarter of an hour before eating them in order to avoid the hives that afflict certain people.

Wine and modern man

Certainly wine is no longer in our time, the food of first necessity that was in former times, when the food was much less rich and varied. While still representing its role of food, it remains the ideal drink of man of our time.

Tonic drink and alive, in addition to the incomparable sensations that make our jaded palates vibrate, the wine intones the damaged organisms by the current rhythm of life and prepares them to resist the aggressions, the disappointments that fall us in luck. Wine responds precisely to the imperious need imposed on it by the current vine: that of keeping its spirit alert and its body in shape. The vitamins it contains, by a happy gift of nature, are precisely those which enable it to fight against the fatigue, the evil of the century in which the machine is rowing. The tannin also contributes to the tonic action of the wine. The red wines, because of their greater wealth in this element are more tonics than the white wines and they enjoy a very stimulating faculty. Its tannic coloring matters "tonify in the same way as it does the quina" (Gautier).

Therefore, red wine is indicated whenever the organism in loss of speed needs a stimulus.

The widely practiced in past centuries "knock-out bracket" drunk before boarding the mount proved well the value of this tonic muscle and spirit of this comforting dynamic, able to hold the rider in his exhausting rides. At normal dosages, evidently, this stimulus is prescribed. It has been absolutely natural has never been followed by any depression, which is the tribute paid for the use of so many modern drugs.

But if wine is a tonic of choice, it is also the best and healthiest of the euphoric. Man has always sought, instinctively, for his food, not only stimulating, but also comforting, to support his worries, to solve the problems that assault him, to fight against the environment of depressive anguish, in which he is frequently debated. Wine pours into our hearts the optimism and joy of life and also provides us with a clear psychic improvement in our anxiety states.

As old as the world, natural, harmless good wine, taken at reasonable doses, is worth no more than all the "drugs of bliss" and its dangerous artificial paradises? It is in the euphoria of the good dishes and of the good wines where the relaxation that is fashionable that our grandparents knew so well without having learned it is joyfully and without effort. And at the very least, there is no need for "relax" chairs or fastidious methods ... Just the wine list!

Finally, this euphoric communicative that good wine creates, let back to present society a brotherly and optimistic act that should never have lost. In the time when worries, exhaustion and nervousness populate the world of strangers or enemies, drinking among friends does not make the forgotten symbols of human friendship and warmth reborn?

The wine and the sportsman

Sport - not alcohol. This is the rigorous equation that certain ascetics of the sport, coaches or athletes, reduce to such terms of intransigence, that go so far as to encompass good wine in this prohibition.

However, the latest work, carried out in sports nutrition, far from commending the exceptional regimes that were in fashion in other times, agree on the fact that the athlete's diet should be, purely and simply, food ideal, that is, healthy and balanced, of an ordinary man who makes muscular efforts. Except for exceptional occasions, snacks and digestives should obviously be excluded from the athlete's menus and totally banned during sports training periods. To condemn at the same time the good wine is an unfortunate exaggeration.

More than for the sedentary, the wine Pasteur called "the healthiest and most hygienic of drinks is revealed as the ideal drink for the sportsman.

The rest of the drinks have certain drawbacks. Fruit juices are sometimes poorly tolerated, especially citrus fruits, which are very pleasant in the course of the meals, but do not make an ideal gastronomic alliance with the cooked dishes. The beer gives heaviness and produces unpleasant phenomena of belching and flatulence. Cider frequently causes gastric disorders and exerts laxative and irritative action on the intestine. Too much coffee or tea causes insomnia and nervousness (and athletes are already prone to anxiety). Milk, often poorly tolerated by the adult, is a food, but not a drink. The habitual consumption of sodium waters is seriously discouraged in sports diet. There is therefore nothing more than weakly mineralized waters or running tap water, with bad smell and antiseptic taste ... Is not this lead to asceticism too far?

More than any other man, the athlete whose extraordinary tests claim a full physical and psychological form, needs wine, precious nutrient, stimulating the functioning of all cells and whose beneficial action is undeniable.

Wine, remember, helps powerfully the digestion of protein materials. Nowadays, and especially in periods of training or when the sport practiced requires great muscular efforts, the athlete is recommended a regime very rich in proteins (meats, fish, eggs, cheeses). For its vitamins, the wine combats the muscular and nervous fatigue of the sports body and maintains its general tone.

Due to its mineral salts it prevents the deficiencies that can have serious consequences, since the smallest imbalance repercussions in the sport "form", state of physical grace quite indefinable and capricious. Thus iron may be lacking in certain circumstances; the increase in ventilation and blood volume required for irrigation of a large muscle mass make it an essential element for sports training. Similarly, the elimination of fatigue toxins brought about by intensive training requires sulfur. Iron and sulfur are found precisely in wine. Finally, the tonic and euphoric action of wine can only exert a beneficial influence on the morale of the athlete because different factors (tense will towards exceptional test, strict discipline, training sometimes to obsession) produce in the athlete an exceptional psychic state and in many cases fragile and vulnerable.

In these conditions, the athlete has the greatest interest in the inclusion of a reasonable amount of wine in his meals, all the more because he is subjected to a great muscular effort, that his pulmonary ventilation is thus accelerated, which allows him to eliminate alcohol more easily than the sedentary does.

On the other hand, the specialists of the sport are far from prohibiting the reasonable consumption of the wine. Thus, for example, Dr. Mathieu, an Olympic physician, states: "For a normal subject, if the amount of wine does not exceed half a liter per meal (one liter per day), the alcohol is entirely burned by the organism and wine is one excellent and nutritious drink ": Boigey, whose works on exercise cure have created doctrine, thinks that" natural wine is the most commendable of alcoholic beverages. It contains a wonderful complex of useful and well-balanced substances that nothing can replace. "

Dr. Encausse, medical inspector of the High Commissioner for Youth and Sports, sets the limits of consumption in three quarters of a liter for a healthy adult of 65 kg of weight. He draws the conclusion, notable for his prudence that the medical body must preach: "temperance, not abstinence, sobriety, not asceticism!"

However, within the limits imposed by personal tastes and a certain flexibility in interpretation, all wines are not recommended to athletes by different authors. This is the case of robust wines, rich in perfumes and lots of color. Burgundy and wines from the banks of the Rhône will be alas! Reserved for the holidays and joy, not for the training periods. The same happens with the white wine, which has the unpleasant reputation, well-known of the mountain guides of "break the legs" ... But the athlete has left the incomparable fan of all the light wines as well as the round and complete. We cannot complain.

Wine and youth

It is obviously not a question of giving wine to a child. We will point out, however, that in the traditional Italian family children drink wine at meals (in a very moderate amount, of course), because wine is considered there as part of food. Now the proportion of alcoholics is lower than in the United States.

The famous bottle of "abundance" of old schools (that is, water slightly tinted with wine) that was the object of our children's irony, was a healthy and pleasant drink, dethroned in our days by other drinks of better price and above all of better publicity. However, it has not ceased to be for school-aged youth the drink of choice that quenches natural thirst, and is harmless. The carbonated and fizzy drinks that they give children to satisfying in good faith, however, are far from being that hygienic as this. The same happens with beer that is drunk without rate, forgetting sometimes its high alcoholic strength, when it comes to luxury beers.

For adolescents, on the other hand, a finger of good pure wine at meals cannot do them wrong, quite the contrary. Many of the restoratives and elixirs, recommended for difficult growth, are made from ordinary wine or liqueur wine. However, we do not ask, when prescribing them, about the danger of possible alcoholism. On the contrary, the knowledge and love of wine, progressive and reasoned, will prevent young people, grown adults, from being dragged by ignorance and consumed no matter what alcoholic beverage. Respect for wine, moderation in their consumption, learning their tasting, instilled from childhood, will later prevent our healthy youth from spoiling the liver and brain with the insane mixtures and cocktails that have become so fashionable in the last times.

The wine and the old man

Wine has been called - and rightly so - "the milk of the old man." El Medoc, producer and wine drinker, is proud to be at the forefront of human longevity records.

Because of the decrease in their digestive secretions, the appetite of the elderly is often deficient. A state of malnutrition can occur in an insidious way, aggravated by poor dentition, considerations of a more or less adequate "regime" and a budget often reduced. Easily adapted, a source of gustatory sensations please them, good wine stimulates the appetite of the elderly and facilitates their digestion. Its stimulating and tonic virtues are precise for those organisms that age has become asthenic. The wine also seeks (more if it is liqueur wines or natural sweet wines) the support, nothing despise him of its caloric value. It is not unnecessary to point out, finally, that there are good wines at affordable prices and within the scope of reduced budgets (despite all the care required for their production and conservation, despite the effort and industriousness that leads from the vineyard to the wine cellar is still relatively inexpensive price compared to other industrial beverages).

Wine and the sick person

The old Hippocrates (460-377 BC) father of medicine, already said in his teachings, "Wine is a wonderfully appropriate thing to man if, in health as in sickness, it is administered with just and right measure."

In the Carolingian period, the ordinary regime of the sick and elderly housed in the asylums of the monasteries comprised comforting and tasty soups of wine, soups of which Joan of Arc liked so much, according to account.

We have already mentioned the bacterial and antitoxic virtues of wine that make it an excellent agent against infections. But the generous nature, which has offered man the same remedies against his evils, has foreseen everything, adapting each wine to each particular case.
It is thus that natural sweet wines, liqueur white wines, these sweets of the vineyard, are especially recommended to convalescent, depauperated, and asthenic. Their wealth in sugar makes them on the contrary prohibitive for diabetics. '

The small white wines, dry, poor in sugar, of a pleasant acidity and light in alcohol, excite the appetite and the digestion. It is suitable for dyspeptics who suffer from hypochlorhydria. The obese are also recommended, since their caloric power is weak ... and their diuretic power is very great (the white wines of Savoy maintain the morale of the poor patients who have been cured of water in Bride-les-Bains).

Sparkling wines agree to a certain class of dyspeptics: the carbonic acid they contain causes them to be used against vomiting. The Champagne is the providence of the convalescents to whom it makes the life of pink appear. It is excellent drink after an emotional shock and very indicated in the low of tension.

In general, light wines, which are less robust, of a reduced alcohol content, are white, rosé or red, are suitable for all organisms and should be preferred for ordinary consumption. Robust wines, generous, rich in aroma, those that are known as "great wines" should be reserved in the "treasures" hold for the big days.

Religious symbol, and source of artistic inspiration at the same time, wine is considered, with just reason, as a sign of civilization in which the sweetness of living, unites body and spirit.
Dressed in purple velvet, golden satin or rose silk, this noble product of the vineyard is the ideal drink of the man of taste of our time and that responds perfectly to his needs as his wishes. Precious complement of a food that is sought is healthy and balanced fills our hearts with the joy of living, without which there is no good health neither physical nor moral. As Sir Alexander Fleming said, "It is penicillin that heals humans, but wine is what makes them happy."