Tag Archives: hangovers

Winebits 613: Hangovers, Italian wine fraud, wine wildlife

hangoversThis week’s wine news: Are hangovers an illness? Plus, Italian police sting wine scammers and bears like their wine grapes

No, it’s not your fault: A German court has ruled that hangovers aren’t a function of stupidity, but an actual illness. The ruling came in a lawsuit against a hangover remedy company. The court said the firm couldn’t claim that its products cured a hangover because food products, including drinks, can’t be marketed as such under German law. This ruling probably won’t mean much elsewhere in the world, given it’s a German court ruling on a German issue. So no sense using it to call in sick after a weekend with too much alcohol and not enough common sense. Still, if I sold one of the myriad of new-breed “hangover cures,” I would pay attention.

Where are Redford and Newman? Italian police dressed as waiters arrested a would-be con artist who was apparently half of a team that had been scamming restaurants – selling the owners €15 worth of supermarket wine for more than €400. The story isn’t breaking news; the arrest happened in the spring. But I thought it was worth mentioning, given all we’ve written on the blog over the past couple of years about restaurant wine prices.

Where was Ranger Smith? Vinepair reports that a bear was recently caught on camera stealing pinot noir grapes from a vineyard in California’s Anderson Valley, one of the top pinot regions in the world. Closed circuit cameras at Navarro Vineyards & Winery in Mendocino County taped the bear, who may also have taken grapes earlier this year. It’s not unusual for wild animals to eat wine grapes, especially from more rural vineyards. No word, though, on how many points the bear gave the grapes, or if he preferred a riper, more California style as opposed to the traditional Burgundian approach.

Wine Curmudgeon mea culpa: There are two Baby Boomer pop culture references in this post that younger people may not get; I couldn’t help myself.


Hangover cures: The worst part of the holiday season?

hangover curesThe annual  PR hangover cures offensive is here again, and it’s as annoying as ever

This holiday season, my in-box has overflowed with emails for hangover cures. Any number of experts claim to have figured out how to fix the headaches, nausea, and overall green feeling that comes with too much alcohol.

In fact, one expert has published a book detailing his remedy, and the effort got a moderately favorable review in the Sunday New York Times book section. Which, to be honest, might be more impressive than discovering an effective hangover cure.

For some reason, hangover cures have been all the rage for the past couple of years. Drink this. Eat this. Follow this routine. Each solution is supposed to do for hangovers what penicillin did for venereal disease, and the hangover experts have the anecdotes, surveys, and assorted facts and figures to support their claims.

What none of them apparently have, of course, is any scientific evidence. But, as has been noted on the blog many times, what does science matter when it comes to booze and our health?

That’s because, scientifically, the only way to cure a hangover is not to get one. Or, as I used to tell my El Centro classes in the alcohol and health lecture, “Drink in moderation.” Even the hangover book author sort of acknowledges this, noting that alcohol causes several physical changes in the body, and that too much drinking involves psychological factors as well. Which is a difficult hurdle for one pill or potion to overcome.

The other thing that baffled me about all of this? Americans are drinking less now than ever, so why the increase in hangover cures? One would think, in the post-modern world of designated drivers, increased police scrutiny, and improved alcohol education, there wouldn’t be much need for a hangover cure. But again, the relationship between health, alcohol, and reality is never quite what common sense says it should be.

Winebits 267: Pennsylvania sales, restaurant wine, hangovers

? One more time: Pennsylvania ?s governor will propose legislation to privatize the state ?s government-owned liquor business, the second time since 2011 it will have been tried. Pennsylvania, said Gov. Tom Corbett, could raise as much as $1 billion by privatizing the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. He said that Pennsylvania and Utah are the only two states in the U.S. to have ?fully state-controlled liquor systems. ? Chances for success? Probably not much better than the attempt two years ago.

? Consumers trade down: The restaurant business, which has always taken wine drinkers for granted, is finally facing the revolt many of us have been hoping for. The recession hurt restaurant wine badly, and the recovery hasn ?t been much better, says a recent report. Diners ordered 13 percent fewer bottles in 2012, and bottle sales accounted for just one-eighth of wine orders and only 41 percent of wine revenue. In other words, consumers, tired of overpaying for crappy wine that is often oxidized or spoiled, stopped paying for it.

? Avoiding the morning after: There ?s nothing in this post that ?s especially new, but it ?s good to have it all in one place: You can minimize a hangover by drinking water while you booze and by drinking less alcoholic wines. It also argues that high tannic red wines help keep hangovers at bay, since they make us drink more water. Though I have to admit it ?s difficult to follow the main piece of advice: ?With every glass of wine, drink a glass of water. ?