by Joan d’Arc
I’d been hearing reports for years that a glass of red wine a day would keep the
doctor away, so I was drinking up as fast as I could. It had to be true. I had seen
it on TV. Heard it on the radio. Read it online. But one day the truth hit me. Who
is it that’s telling me to drink alcohol? How could this be good advice? That was
when I discovered the truth about the Wine Institute’s publicity campaign to turn
me into a Wino!
According to a report published in 1997 by the Center
for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the California
Wine Institute has mounted a decade long publicity
campaign to erroneously promote the health benefits of
wine consumption. The report, titled Vintage Deception,
alleges that, “the Institute’s propaganda spreads the deceptive
and potentially dangerous message that moderate
drinking – especially moderate wine consumption – is an
important factor in maintaining all-around good health for
the general public.”
The bogus health studies claim that the antioxidant
resveratrol, prevalent in the skin of red grapes, may inhibit
tumor development in some cancers, may aid in the
formation of nerve cells, and may even be helpful in the
treatment of Alzheimers and Parkinsons!
Wow! Why don’t you just eat red grapes then?
The authors of the report, Laura Steinhardt and George
Hacker, assert that, “the wine industry’s pronouncements
about scientific findings of the benefits of moderate alcohol
consumption have saturated the media and entered
the public consciousness.” Although some studies have
associated moderate alcohol consumption with a reduced
risk for heart disease for some people, “alcohol does not
benefit all people and certain individuals should avoid it
I appeared to be one of those people because every
time I drank this health beverage I swore like a sailor and
got into fist fights!
The Vintage Deception report alleges that the California
Wine Institute has: “made exaggerated claims about the
health benefits of alcohol and wine; suggested human
health benefits from wine on the basis of an unpublished
laboratory study; regularly omitted the cautions and qualifications
made by researchers whose studies it cites; and
failed completely to mention the health risks of alcohol
One chart on the Wine Institute’s website (www.wineinstitute.org)
lists benefits of moderate alcohol consumption
on, among other things: the common cold, kidney stones,
Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cognition and
memory and pancreatic cancer! While touting wine as a
“virtual panacea,” the California Crack Institute does not
mention the most obvious reason why wine is not good for
you: There’s a demon in the bottle!
Among its bogus studies, in January 1997 the Wine
Institute published a report saying that resveratrol in wine
acts as an anti-cancer agent; yet, the mice in the study
had consumed the resveratrol equal to fi ve gallons of
wine a day. I apparently wasn’t drinking enough of it! But
wait, there was no evidence that the resveratrol could
be absorbed into the human bloodstream through food
or wine consumption. The quacks at the Institute hadn’t
informed me I had to mainline it!
“There is no health magic in wine,” says Sheila B.
Blume, M.D. “I would never recommend that anyone begin
drinking because alcohol has many destructive health
effects.” Yes, indeed. Many women head straight home
from work to cook, clean and drink wine. The truth is, wine
is not a health beverage; it’s bad for your liver, your brain,
your gut ph balance, and, for women, your breasts!
In May 1997, the same month that the journal Epidemiology
suggested avoidance of alcohol to reduce breast
cancer risk, the Wine Institute’s report suggested that
moderate wine consumption is not associated with increased
risk of breast cancer. While the American Cancer
Society has cautioned women to limit their alcohol consumption,
the Wine Institute excluded the actual opinions
of authors of these studies!
The U.S. is soon to catch up with France in its annual
consumption of wine. Is this an accident or are we controlled?
In France, high wine consumption translates into
severe alcohol problems. Says the Vintage Deception report,
“the rate of coronary heart disease may be relatively
low, but deaths from alcohol-related digestive diseases
and cancers, as well as unintentional injuries, are excessive,
recently estimated at nearly 25% of all premature
In the U.S., “alcohol is the third-leading cause of
premature death; its use and abuse result in more than
100,000 deaths annually and impose more than $100
billion in economic damage on society.” If you’re going to
drink wine, don’t do it because it’s “good for you.”
After all, who needs an excuse to be a Wino?
Nutrition Advisor, “A glass of red wine a day keeps the doctor
Vintage Deception: The Wine Institute’s Manipulation of
Scientifi c Research to Promote Wine Consumption. Available for
$5.00 plus $3.50 s/h: CSPI, Alcohol Policies, 1875 Connecticut
Ave. N.W. Suite 300, Washington, DC 20009. www.cspinet.
Wine Institute: www.wineinstitute.org