This is a copy of a letter Dr Philip Norrie – The Wine Doctor – wrote to Ged Kearney, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, about the Government inquiry into health warnings on alcoholic beverage labels – the case for considering wine separately to beer and spirits.
I am an old-fashioned bulk-billing GP in Sydney who still does house calls and visits nursing home regularly.
I am also a medical historian, the most degreed medical doctor in Australia with eight degrees and an authority on the health benefits of drinking wine in moderation.
My PhD was about the history of wine as a medicine for the past 5,000 years and the subsequent book The History of Wine as a Medicine from its Begining in China to the Present Day won an unprecedented three Gourmand Book Awards (the equivalent to the Oscars for the International Food and Beverage Industry) in 2020 including Best Drink Health Book Internationally.
I also write the wine and health/history sections in Jancis Robinson’s Oxford Companion to Wine.
There are two sides to this labelling argument.
You were an RN so you would know the downside of abusing alcohol and as a practicing doctor, in no way do I condone alcohol abuse.
But you also have to factor in the many health benefits of consuming wine in moderation.
Wine is different to beer and spirits.
If you go to my website – www.drnorrie.info and look at the blog ‘Wine and Health – is it the alcohol or is it the wine’ you will see that wine has many health benefits if consumed in moderation.
Wine reduces death from all causes by up to 50 percent, vascular disease by up to 50 percent, dementia by up to 80 percent, cancer of the prostate by up to 50 percent and so the list goes on.
The Zutphen Study is the world’s longest longitudinal study and it showed that wine drinkers outlived teetotallers by five years on average.
Beer drinkers were the same as teetotallers and spirits drinkers were worse than teetotallers, so wine is the best beverage to reduce death rates and that is why it is different to beer and spirits and needs special consideration please.
If you are going to be fair or Aussie – ‘fair-dinkum’ – if you put a health warning on the label about consuming wine at abusive levels, then you should also say that consuming wine in moderation has many health benefits.
That way you avoid being one-sided, biased and promoting a double standard; which is not ‘PC’ now days.