Wine Culture and Information - Volume 17
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  Editorial Issue 53, June 2007   
The Culture of ModerationThe Culture of Moderation MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
Issue 52, May 2007 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 54, Summer 2007

The Culture of Moderation


 Every time the frequency of car accidents in which are involved the young increases, the most simple thing they think to do is to “blame” some habits and behaviors. One of the most frequent causes of car accidents, the statistics say, is about the consumption - but it should be better to say, the abuse - of alcohol. The problem is certainly serious, indeed, very serious. And every time the most simple thing they think to do in order to “fix” the problem is to repress some behaviors, while hoping such an extreme measure will be really useful to change things. Despite the many restrictive and punitive measures adopted, car accidents continue to happen, and there are people - not only the young - who after having excessively consumed alcoholic beverages, drive a car or a vehicle. Risks and consequences deriving from such behaviors are indisputably unacceptable, in particular for the consequences such behaviors causes to others, solely guilty of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.


 

 The problem is serious, of primary importance and something must certainly be done. However we should also think about the usefulness of “punitive” measures, and in particular, about the lack of proper cultural measures. The nature of human beings, as it is commonly known, is pretty “rebel”, and when something is forbidden, as soon as they have the chance, they break the rule, also for the simply - although stupid - satisfaction of doing something which is forbidden. It is something like in children, when their mother forbids them to do something, as soon as the mother is out of sight, no doubt about this, the kid exactly does what was forbidden to do. In this sense, kids and adults are the same, both confirming the nature of human beings. Although we fully agree, with no doubt, it is necessary to do something in order to avoid people drive a car after having drunk too much - as well as in case of the abuse of alcoholic beverages - we believe something else must be done as well, besides using punitive and repressive measures. Rules are certainly necessary: they contribute to the good keeping of social life while respecting common principles, respecting the others and, last but not the least, oneself.

 As long as society and institutions will limit themselves to solely repress some behaviors, without having the people to understand the reasons for which that rule exists, that rule is probably not very useful. As for the criteria used for the determination of “legal” consumption of alcoholic beverages, to set an objective limit is not very correct, as every subject has a personal capacity of metabolizing alcohol and the same quantity of alcohol consumed by different subjects does not give the same effects and behaviors. There are people who after having consumed one glass of wine show evident alterations in their behavior, whereas others, with the same quantity, are absolutely sober. Science and medicine teach us the capacity of metabolizing - or better to say, deteriorate - alcohol is done by an enzyme, alcohol dehydrogenase, found in different quantity in each one of us. Science has also proven women have a lesser quantity of this enzyme than men: this explains the reason why women usually have a lower tolerance towards the consumption of alcohol.

 In most of the countries, Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) - that is the quantity of grams of alcohol for every liter of blood - is set to 0.5, beyond this limit one is considered “legally” incapable for driving a vehicle. Rules are certainly necessary, of course, but as the physiology of every human being is different from the one of any other else, such a rule could be unsuitable for many, both because it could be too much or too little. However we have no intention in debating this law: what we think to be better is to find alternative solutions to this. Of course, law has the duty of making rules for the society in order to give a common reference to everyone and to make sure they are respected. However we think as long as they will just continue to trust the efficiency of such measures, people will continue to abuse alcoholic beverages and nothing will ever change, they will continue to count the dead of car accidents and to blame the disreputable behaviors of the ones who “drink too much”.

 We believe the problem must be faced differently. Alcohol is a toxic substance and this is indisputable, however its toxicity becomes evident in case it is consumed in high quantities, a quantity which is indisputably subjective for each one of us. Alcoholism and the abuse of alcohol certainly are two serious social and personal problems, also in those societies where the consumption of alcoholic beverages is socially accepted because part of the culture and tradition of that country, such as Italy. We believe, indeed, we are absolutely sure about this, the difference between moderation and abuse is uniquely represented by culture. As long as society and institutions will not understand the importance and value of awareness, of the spreading of the culture of moderation, by strongly criticizing certain social models which base their stupidity on the falsity of appearance - and only for the interest of few people - we think it is very hard to really change things. And this is something which must be done as soon as possible, also by beginning from the kids in the schools, not only by scolding adult people who already have their behaviors hard to change. The intelligent and moderate consumption of alcoholic beverage - including wine, of course - is a matter of culture: the conscious choice of those who appreciate in these beverages the pleasure expressed by senses, while respecting themselves and everything that beverage represents in culture, tradition and the expression of human talents and of nature.

 The abuse of alcoholic beverages certainly is a culture as well, something usually giving the uselessness of being lost somewhere else while hoping to find oneself different from what one feels or sees in real life. It is necessary to make understand the consequences of abuse, but also the pleasure and the richness - medicine suggests us there also are benefits for the health - an alcoholic beverage can give as long as it is respected and one respects oneself in moderation. As for us, we think we should do something for this problem by using our pages and our site. It will not be a determinant or essential contribution, however it probably is better than nothing. For this reason we thought about offering our readers a practical alcohol test in order to give an approximate measure according to law and to avoid any possible “bad surprise”. We wish this new service to be useful and appreciated like the other ones: it is our small contribution to wise drinking and to the culture of moderation. We remind our readers this “alcohol test” must be considered as a tool for the approximate evaluation of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) only and the reliable determination is possible only by means of blood, breath and urine analysis. Moreover, our alcohol test is also available in DiWineTaste mobile - therefore it can be used from mobile phones - after having spent one night in company of friends and one wishes to have an approximate value of his or her Blood Alcohol Content. Cheers, but with moderation!

 



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  Editorial Issue 53, June 2007   
The Culture of ModerationThe Culture of Moderation MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
Issue 52, May 2007 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 54, Summer 2007

MailBox


 In this column are published our reader's mail. If you have any comment or any question or just want to express your opinion about wine, send your letters to our editorial or fill in the form available at our site.

 

There are many corkscrews available and all of them seem to be exceptional. Is corkscrew so important? After all it is just about uncorking a bottle!
Melanie Edwards -- Houston, Texas (USA)
Uncorking a bottle of wine, in its simplicity, is an operation to be done carefully, in particular in case of bottles containing a wine aged for many years. Cork is a natural material and with time it loses its elasticity and its mechanical qualities, therefore becoming fragile also because of the prolonged contact with wine. In these specific cases, the quality of corkscrew is important, and it is indispensable it will not damage the cork. A very important element of a corkscrew is the so called “spiral” - that is the part penetrating the cork - which must have a very low friction while facilitating the penetration in the cork without breaking it. An excellent solution is represented by spirals made of teflon. Also the grip and the lever point are very important because they allow the proper use of strength while avoiding excessive efforts, in particular with corks that, because of the effects of time, are stuck to the bottle's neck. Today are available many corkscrew models, from the classic and very effective “waiter's corkscrews” to technological solution allowing the extraction of cork from the bottle with no effort. When buying a corkscrew, particular attention must be paid in the quality of spiral, to its ergonomics and easiness of use, as well as its capability of keeping the cork intact during the extraction.



What is “Vin de Paille”?
Wayne Davidson -- Tullamore (Ireland)
“Vin de Paille” - literally Straw Wine - is a sweet wine produced in the French Jura and is the equivalent of vino passito produced in Italy. Grapes, after having harvested, are spread on a mat and allowed to dry in order to favor the loss of water, while allowing the concentration of sugar and juice. At the end of withering, grapes are crushed and it is obtained a thick and rich must, which will be then fermented. The result is a rich, sweet and concentrated wine. According to French classification of wines, Vin de Paille belongs to the category of Vin Liquoreux.



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  Editorial Issue 53, June 2007   
The Culture of ModerationThe Culture of Moderation MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
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