Savor wine: Wine-drinking 101

TAKE WITH FOOD. According to Bill Hardy of Hardys Wine, wine has more alcohol than beer or gin and tonic. It's best to take it with food.

TAKE WITH FOOD. According to Bill Hardy of Hardys Wine, wine has more alcohol than beer or gin and tonic. It's best to take it with food.

MANILA, Philippines - It is said that in wine, there is truth.

Next to the fruit cake, wine was possibly the more common gift during the holiday season.

Valentine's Day is coming up, and you'll find good (and romantic) "use" for all that wine on your shelf.

But the fact is that we needn't wait for a special occasion to drink wine. People who have trouble sleeping can drink one glass of red wine every night before going to sleep, for example.

More than just an alcoholic beverage that can get you intoxicated, a quality bottle of vino can also give you something more: good health.

“I’ve always had the deep-seeded view that wine has to be good for you,” says Bill Hardy, brand ambassador and 5th generation winemaker of Hardys Wine, one of Australia's pioneering wineries and the 5th biggest supplier of wine in the world.

“Wine has been made for roughly 10,000 years, and civilization after civilization has made the point that wine was used as a medicine to sooth people’s pains. That gave me the impressions that it’s good for you," he continues.

Scientifically speaking, the key is the anti-oxidant found in grapes, from which wine is made.

'WINE HAS TO BE GOOD FOR YOU.' Bill Hardy at their Upper Tintara Vineyard in Australia

'WINE HAS TO BE GOOD FOR YOU.

' Bill Hardy at their Upper Tintara Vineyard in Australia

“If you, like the Europeans, have two to 3 glasses a day, that sort of consumption will benefit your heart and other parts of the body because wine has a very well-known anti-oxidant called resveratrol,” says Hardy. He notes that the key is to drink moderately.

“What you should not do is not drink wine all week long, then on the weekend, drink a couple of bottles," he cautions. "That’s bad for you."

"Regular small amounts of wine have actually been shown to be good for your health.”

And while Filipinos are more known to chug down a bottle of beer more than a glass of wine — owing to the latter’s "snobbish" reputation and its accompanying price, plus the fact that it is not available in the neighborhood store like beer — many wine producers have begun to “democratize” wine.

“If you went back 30 years in Australia, wine was seen as a snobbish product only for wealthy people and special occasions. But by bringing in the wine in bags and boxes, they made it simple and uncomplicated," says Hardy. "And by using things like screw caps rather than corks, it made wine accessible and a [possible] daily drink.” 

According to Manny Osmeña of Manny O Wines based in Cebu, “the Philippines’s consumption of wine is still not very big. Not because we don’t like wine, but because the philosophy is still that to drink is to get drunk."

He adds, "Wine is too expensive to get you drunk. But the maturity progression is very fast so our increase in volume is growing fast as well.”

'THE PHILOSOPHY IS STILL THAT TO DRINK IS TO GET DRUNK.' Manny Osmeu00f1a at an event in Buddha Bar in Makati. Photo by stAmp (sic) Photography from the Manny O Wines Facebook page

'THE PHILOSOPHY IS STILL THAT TO DRINK IS TO GET DRUNK.' Manny Osmeu00f1a at an event in Buddha Bar in Makati.

Photo by stAmp (sic) Photography from the Manny O Wines Facebook page

But how exactly should one drink wine? And what’s with all the sniffing? Is that really necessary?

“First of all,” says Hardy, “wine is made for food.”

When you drink a bottle of beer, you’re probably drinking 5% alcohol; with gin and tonic, maybe between 5% and 10% alcohol. “But when you drink wine, you’re normally drinking something that’s 12% to 15% alcohol," Hardy adds.

"So just sitting around drinking wine is really not an advisable thing to do.”

And when it comes to the drinking part, the best thing to do is to take it slow. Take your time. “Always drink it slowly and focus. Most people don’t focus on the flavors they’re drinking," says Osmeña. 

"They just say, I like it. But they don’t think on or savor what they like. You may think that doing so is tiring, no," he clarifies. "[In fact] it enhances your satisfaction.” 

As "snobbish" as it sounds, for Hardy, “It is worthwhile smelling wine before tasting it. Your palate only perceives 4 basic flavors: sweetness, bitterness, acidity, and saltiness. As the palate warms up, you get volatile compounds going up your nasal passage."

"They impact on your olfactory senses, giving you all of those flavors of strawberries, coffee, chocolate, and things like that. It’s actually worth putting your nose in there and enjoying that smell for a while.” - Rappler.com