In Defense of Wine

Duff Cooper and Susan Mary Patten in Venice, 1951

"I have already made mention of the happiness I have derived throughout my life from literature, and I should here, perhaps, acknowledge the consolation I have never failed to find in the fermented juice of the grape.

Writing in my sixty-fourth year, I can truthfully say that since I reached the age of discretion I have consistently drunk more than most people would say was good for me. Nor do I regret it. Wine has been to me a firm friend and a wise counsellor.

Often, as on the occasion just related, wine has shown me matters in their true perspective, and has, as though by the touch of a magic wand, reduced great disasters to small inconveniences. Wine has lit up for me the pages of literature, and revealed in life romance lurking in the commonplace. Wine has made me bold but not foolish; has induced me to say silly things but not to do them. Under its influence words have often come too easily which had better not have been spoken, and letters have been written which had better not have been sent.

But if such small indiscretions standing in the debit column of wine’s account were added up, they would amount to nothing in comparison with the vast accumulation on the credit side."

-from Duff Cooper's 1954 autobiography Old Men Forget

Whether you're a drinker or not, it's refreshing to read an old fashioned, unapologetic defense of indulgence of any kind in this age of juice cleanses and detox diets.
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