A. J. LINN
In the festive season wine consumption increases, not meaning that we regular drinkers consume more (ahem!), rather that people who would normally pass on it enjoy a glass or three. We do not realise how lucky we are. Wine has been produced for the ... last 6,000 years, but it is only in 3% of that entire period that we have been able to drink it as a refined pleasure. For the previous 97% of those six millennia, wine was drunk not for pleasure, but because water was polluted. Wine, and beer in some ... countries, was the only liquid refreshment, sweet wine being the preferred tipple as it kept longer. Quantities of Bavarian steinwein still exist from 1540, the driest year on record when the Rhine ran dry, and wine was used for building due to lack of water.