Wine and health
Is it possible that wine may indeed be the world's oldest medicine? Until the 18th century, wine played an integral role in medical practice. Not only was it safer to drink than most available water but its alcohol, antioxidant and acid content inhibited the growth of many spoilage and pathogenic organisms. The paradigm shifted in the second half of the 20th century, when alcohol consumption, including wine drinking, had become the target of health campaigners who, with some success, demanded warning labels on wine bottles. Substantial medical evidence, summarized in this article, was accumulated during the 1990s and indicated that the moderate consumption of especially red wine can reduce the incidence of coronary heart disease. Today it is perceived, and generally accepted, that moderate wine drinking can be socially beneficial, and can also be effective in the management of stress and reducing coronary heart disease. The prudent wine drinkers, however, continue to monitor their drinking habits so as to ensure that the benefits exceed the risks.