We all have our crosses to bear. Last Saturday mine was a pounding
hangover, emanating in waves from the centre of my head that seemed to
be getting louder, until I realised it was a courier pounding my
As I struggled out of my safe haven (bed), I told myself that binge drinking is dumb, wrong
and bad for you. It can make you do stupid, inappropriate things,
usually too loudly, clumsily and sometimes even dangerously.
Worst of all, you wake up feeling like death warmed up, wondering how you got the bruise on your right knee.
not like this everywhere. Most Europeans don’t drink to get smashed but
to enjoy hanging out with their friends and family, usually around the
dinner table. It’s one thing to have the theory, of course, but quite
another to be able to live up to it.
A good night, I often remind myself, does not need to be a big night in terms of how much alcohol I consume. The trouble is that my wholesome theory easily comes unstuck when:
a) You live in a country with a binge drinking culture, as many of us do.
b) You live on a planet with a global wine glut where the price of everyday plonk is plummeting.
c) You live in a country with a sunrise wine industry, as New Zealanders, Australians and North Americans do.
d) The number of surveys linking good health with wine consumption is continuously growing.
As a wine writer of 14 years, living in a house often besieged by wine bottles and boxes, I have had to adopt a couple of simple steps to keep me on the straight and narrow – at least most of the time.
1) Less wine, better quality – buy the wine you love, regardless of the price, so that you value each pour and are less likely to consume large amounts.
2) Pour smaller quantities – intentionally fill your glass just a quarter to a third so that you can enjoy the aroma in the glass more, and also consume less.
3) Choose smaller glasses for weeknight drinking, further decreaseing the amount you pour.
4) Take the above three steps as seriously as you do eating your five-plus vegetables and fruit each day.