Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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drunkenness, and its history is inextricably entwined with that of wine, since one of the chief reasons wine has been cherished, and prohibited, is its property to intoxicate. Excessive wine drinking has therefore always had moral or religious connotations, beginning with the ‘shameful’ intoxication of Noah after the Flood (see bible).

Varying definitions of what constitutes excessive drinking have prevailed at different times and in different societies, with opinions sometimes diverging within that same society. It is also important to note that drinking has always accompanied festivity and ritual, and that societies have developed rules to contain it. The fear that these rules may be violated and society threatened is therefore apparent at almost every stage in the history of drunkenness.