An interestingly broad agenda is covered in Wine- A scientific
Exploration, with chapters devoted to subjects as diverse as
wine and archeology, wine and migraine or the identity and parentage
of wine grapes. Each chapter is written by a different author,
who include Martin Bobak on wine and heart disease, Arthur Klatsky
on alcohol and cardiovascular diseases and Dr. Philip Norrie on
the history of wine as a medicine.
We are given a history of the cultivation of the vine, which is
believed to have originated in Georgia 9000 years ago. We are
taught about wine tasting and what determines taste. Philip
Norrie then reveals that the oldest known medical handbook was
written on a Sumerian clay tablet around 2200 BC and it recommends
wine as a medicine for coughs. Norrie then reviews wine use as
a medicine in the ancient civilisations of Egypt, China and India.
The more scientific chapters then deal with the role of polyphenols
in oxidation and antherosclerosis, migraine and macular degeneration.
The book is academic, yet is a good read and should appeal to
a lay audience as well as to researchers and academics. It puts
wine in a historical and contemporary context as well as giving
a detailed analysis of the beverage and the health effects linked
to its consumption.
Wine- a scientific exploration is published by Taylor and Francis,
11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4 4EE and 29 West 35th Street, New
York, NY 10001 ISBN 0-415-24734-9