The use of wine goes beyond being just a gastronomic pleasure; it is –and has always been– much more than a product to delight our palates. From the very beginning, wine has been used in religious rituals as an offering for deities and as a magic potion. Much closer to the present day than we may realise, doctors used it as a healing tonic and prescribed it as a remedy for many ills.
Unfortunately, wine also has its abuses, much to the misfortune of those consuming it so. For centuries, some have been interested only in its psychoactive and intoxicating effects, moved by a mistaken and unbridled hedonism that probably conceals a need to put out internal fires and heal wounds of the soul.
But these are not the only uses for wine. It is an appreciated and costly collector’s item. Among devotees, the most astute manage to reap great economic rewards: it is an object ripe for investment, with a rising value that brings considerable returns. These enthusiasts and collectors treat wine as if it were merely another stock market asset.
Comparisons are another area covered in this chapter. This search for differences and similarities helps to contextualize and make sense of wine from distinct perspectives: Do you get rice for sake in the same way as grapes for wine? Is wine sold like beer? Can you advertise wine as a soft drink? Do you keep wine in the same way as other drinks?