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Wine Health | 1 Wine Dude - Page 4

Posts Filed Under wine health

5 Reasons Why Smoking Kills Wine Appreciation

Vinted on April 7, 2008 binned in best of, wine appreciation, wine health, wine tips

(images: wiskirchengallery.com, farm3.static.flickr.com, smokingkills.com)

Guess what?

Smoking sucks donkey butt.

Hardly a news flash, right?

But what you might not know already is that, aside from the fact that smoking kills more people per year than alcohol & drug abuse, homicides, suicides, car accidents, fires, and AIDS-related deathscombined - it also kills something else near and dear to our hearts.

Smoking totally kills your ability to truly appreciate wine.
You want to learn to appreciate wine like a pro? Then you’d better quit smoking, pronto…


1) Smoking impairs your sense of smell.
This is a well-known effect of smoking. Considering that almost all of your ability to taste wine stems from your ability to smell, this makes smoking pretty much the death knell of your wine appreciation pursuits. And it will stay that way until you quit smoking.


2) Smoking impairs your sense of taste.
According to TheScoopOnSmoking.org, “If you smoke, you won’t be able to taste your food as well as nonsmokers do.” That’s because smoking damages your taste buds. So, what smoking doesn’t kill in terms of your ability to appreciate a wine’s aromas, it will kill in your ability to savor its flavors on your palate. You might as well be drinking water (or grain alcohol) instead.

3) Smoking creates off-odors that interfere with your (and others) ability to appreciate wine in the glass.
When you smoke, you stink. Your clothes, hair, and breath all suffer from off-odors when you’re a smoker. The kind of strong off-putting odors associated with smoking are absolute murder for the appreciation of wines with delicate aromas. What’s more, nothing will piss off other wine geeks more than your smelliness impairing their ability to appreciate the wine in their glasses!

4) Smoking is boku expensive.
The money that you spend on smoking (current estimates put this around $200 per month, on average) is money that you can’t spend on good wine. I don’t know about you, but I consider $2000+ a year a good deal of money; after all, that’s almost 225 bottles of tasty Centine (or maybe 1.5 bottles of Chateau Petrus – in an off-vintage). Aside from the large personal expense of the smoking habit, it could also be argued that you have a civic and moral duty to quit smoking, to promote the public good. Why? Smoking increases general medical expenses, even for non-smokers. For example, treatment costs and rising insurance rates (even for non-smokers) are being driven up due to smoking-related health costs. Not really related to wine, I know, but since I had your attention I couldn’t resist mentioning it.

5) Smoking will kill you.
While there has been past publicity given to medical studies that claim wine drinking can counter some of the arterial damage caused by smoking, there is no evidence to suggest that drinking wine can help counter any of the dozens of other negative health impacts of smoking. The bottom line is that smoking will kill you.

And I’m fairly certain that death seriously imparis your ability to appreciate fine wine.

Duh…

Cheers!

Why Kids are Collateral Damage in the War for Your Wine Dollar (and What You Can Do About It)

Vinted on April 4, 2008 binned in PLCB, wine health

(images: tastephx.com, defendamerica.mil, green-talk.com)

For those of you plying along at home, I’m a new dad – of only a few remarkable days. As you might imagine, you could change my handle to “1DiaperDude” and it would be an apt description, since I’m far more involved in baby-related activities at the moment than I am in vino sampling.

As a new parent, I now find myself asking questions that, in my previous life (BC - Before Children), I would never have considered:

This kid is *adorable* – is she actually mine?

How much talk about poop is too much talk about poop?

Do any criminal sex offenders live in our neighborhood?

What’s the best way to threaten my daughter’s future teenage suitors when they eventually come to the house to take her on a date, without risking incarceration? Display a “wall of weapons”?

Because I’m a wine geek, I’ve also been asking another question:

How can I (eventually) introduce my family to responsible wine consumption?

As I pondered that last question, I came to realize something. It’s something that struck me as very important (and maybe, I dare say after having a few glasses of vino tonight as I type this, a touch profound):

Our children are the “collateral damage” in the marketing fight for your wine dollar

1) On the one hand, state-run liquor distribution monopolies (such as the PLCB) are exploiting our fear of keeping our children safe.

These wine distro. monopolies protect their big profits by fighting legislation that would open their state wine sales to the free market.

How do they muster support for that legislation? They scare it out of you, by telling you that your children will get their hands on alcohol illegally if states governments permit wine and other alcoholic beverages to be sold via the Internet and direct-shipped to your door.

On the surface it seems a simple choice – protect your kids., right?

But what the wine monopolies don’t tell you is that their data are based on seriously flawed studies. They’re betting that a) you’re too dumb to scratch under the surface and get the real facts on their studies, b) you’re not a smart enough parent to teach your children responsible behavior around alcohol, and c) you won;t bother because your kids will become scheming, irresponsible teens anyway.

If I was dolling out grades, that approach would get, at best, a D minus. It’s the politics of fear vs. the politics of free trade – and our kids, unable to adequately defend themselves, are caught in the crossfire.

2) On the other hand, for the most part our U.S. society does little (or nothing) to introduce kids to the notion of responsible, healthy alcohol / wine consumption. Instead, we allow that introduction to take place via movies and TV, where our children get to see seriously unhealthy over-consumption portrayed as the height of coolness, synonymous “real” partying and fun.

What can we do about it? The role of parenting is essential:

1) “Teach Your Children Well” – As parents, we need to insure that we spend enough time in our children’s lives. Part of that QT (eventually) is to help them understand wine’s healthy place at the dinner table, in our society at large, and in world history.

We also have to make sure that our kids don’t view alcohol over-consumption as something “cool” (so cool that they automatically associate it as being essential to having a good time).

2) “Teach Your Parents Well” – As parents, we need to encourage each other, and encourage the dialog of abuse prevention (instead of treatment). Why hasn’t this dialog made more headway into traditional media and social programs? I’ve no idea – though I suspect it may have something to do with the fact that both cases mentioned above line the pockets of somebody.

Try searching on Google for family and alcohol, and you’ll see what I mean – you will get results that deal with treating alcohol abuse problems in the family after they are already problems; you won’t find much on responsible prevention.

One of the few places where you can find this dialog taking place is in the wine blogging community. Commendably, many wine bloggers have tried to tackle this topic, Dr. Debs and The Pour among them.

You can support the positive dialog by supporting the wine blogging community. Donate to your favorite blogs, spread the word by giving them a digg, join the Open Wine Consortium, and join the fight against wine distro. scare-tactics by writing to your state governments to let them know how you feel about their questionable practices.

3) Set an example by drinking responsibly, and not abusing alcohol in front of your children. Well… duh…!

Nobody said being a dad would be easy. Being a dad has made me even more determined to fight against wine distribution monopolies. And it’s given even more respect for the value that the global blogging community can provide.

Cheers!

In the News: Drinking Can Cut Risk of Heart Disease (+ Other Tidbits)

Vinted on March 20, 2008 binned in wine blogging, wine blogging wednesday, wine health, wine news

(image: healingdaily.com)

Mark Fisher, who writes the Uncorked blog at the Dayton Daily News, has posted an interesting piece this week with his thoughts on a recent American Journal of Medicine alcohol study.

Mark’s thoughts are always worth a read, and this article is no exception (and thanks to him as well for mentioning my previous post on the same overall topic of wine consumption and health).

While the study itself highlights the positive effects of alcohol on middle aged baby-boomers, Mark uses the study to point out that the issue of alcohol consumption and health is not a simple one.

I.e., trying to binge on wine in your 50s to make up for the booze that you didn’t have when you were younger is not gonna help you reap any wine health benefits. That kind of thinking is more likely to fatally turn your liver into a large hunk of scar tissue.

The good news is that the liver can recover from short-term damage – it just needs a break from the likes of coffee, medication, and especially alcohol. So if you’ve been hitting the wine tastings with added gusto lately, consider giving yourself and your liver the gift of a few days (if not a few weeks) of abstinence. Remember, I’m a wine nut, so if I’m saying it’s a good idea to lay off the vino from time to time, it’s not because I just like to type!

Also, for those of you playing along at home, Wine Blogging Wednesday #44 has just been announced by Gary V. over at Wine Library TV. Yes, that Gary V. The theme this time around is French Cabernet Franc. So, if you want to join the wine blogging community in a review, go pick up a wine and transcribe your thoughts! Details are available here (including what areas of France to look for at the wine store if you want to participate).

Cheers!

Wine Appreciation and Alcohol Abuse: How to Avoid Personal Disaster

Vinted on March 15, 2008 binned in best of, wine appreciation, wine health, wine how to, wine tips

(images: brainboomer.com, jamieq.blogspot.com)

I work in two professions – Wine Consulting and Playing Rock Music – that pretty much guarantee that I am in close proximity to alcohol (and its potential abuse) a good portion of the time.

I love to drink. Specifically, I love to savor excellent wine (and beer), and admire the nuances, flavors, aromas, and overall artistic craftsmanship that a good drink can deliver. Most of all, I love sharing that experience with others. Wine connects us to a particular place and time, and connects us with each other – not just the place, time, and people that made it, but also the place, time and people with whom we enjoy it when we pop the cork.

And once in a blue moon, I like to overdo it a bit. Because getting buzzed with friends is, well, it’s just plain fun.

Notice I wrote “once in a blue moon” and not “every weekend.” In the rock-&-roll context of my life, I’ve seen first-hand what alcohol abuse can do to individuals, families, and even total strangers that come into unfortunate (and sometimes, in the case of drunk driving, catastrophic and tragic) contact with an abuser.

Genetics and personality traits are very important in determining anyone’s individual predilection towards abuse of alcohol, but it doesn’t help that cultural, and peer pressures (at least in the U.S. and the U.K.) tend to ridicule the appreciation of wine as snobbish, while at the same time aggrandizing inebriation as the height of fun in a social context.

That approach is completely ass-backward. I don’t have any pithy humorous sayings on that topic. It’s just so sad, stupid, and heartbreaking that I can’t make it funny and still respect myself.

Alcohol-related liver diseases (which are notoriously difficult to diagnose until they are advanced) have been on the rise in countries like Britain for years. Whether you drink or not, the rising abuse of alcohol (in the U.S. or the U.K. for example) is expensive for taxpayers and health insurance recipients who all help to fund health care systems that are having trouble keeping up without breaking their banks.

I’m not the first person to touch on how these dangers impact those of us in the wine consulting biz (check out this great series in Men’s Vogue for an example). But I thought I’d add to the on-line discussion by listing the tips that have helped me (so far) to successfully navigate the waters of wine appreciation while minimizing the damage to my liver (and my relationships)…


Abuse Is NOT ‘One-Size-Fits-All. Safe levels of drinking can only ever be approximate. While you may read that having 2 drinks per day is the safe average level of consumption for someone of your weight and gender, these generalized figures don’t take into account your race, family history, or personality type. You can’t treat these as hard-and-fast rules – your safe levels may differ.

All Things In Moderation. If 2 drinks per day is a safe limit for you, that doesn’t mean that abstaining from drinking for one week means that you can safely consume 14 drinks over the weekend. If you are unsure if your current alcohol consumption levels are safe, consult alcoholism.about.com (or, better yet, talk to your doctor).

Treat Professional Settings Professionally. I’ve written before about the perils of industry tastings, so I won’t repeat all of that advice here. Bear in mind that just because free alcohol is available to you doesn’t mean that you are obligated to drink it. When you’re at industry tastings, don’t forget to spit, and don’t use it as an excuse to catch up on drinking that you think you’ve “missed out on” in the past.

Don’t Punish Yourself. If you’re not an abuser, drinking too much once in a long while shouldn’t upset you (unless it’s caused you to do something that you regret). Nobody’s perfect. Just make a mental note to improve the next time. If needed, ask your friends for support. (If you are an abuser, or concerned that you might be headed in that direction, then falling off the wagon is a big deal and might need the help of a professional).

Never, Ever, Under Any Circumstances Drink & Drive. This one should be obvious but amazingly I still know people who do this. This is never, ever safe under any circumstances. If you suspect that you’re going to have more than your normally safe level of alcohol, get someone else to drive – no excuses.

Cheers!

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