Wine in premodern thought

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Azélina Jaboulet-Vercherre

From an early stage, Azélina Jaboulet-Vercherre made the decision to study history, fine arts and literature. As a historian, she indefatigably searches for original sources which may cast light on the reflections, understanding and the uses of wine over the centuries. She firmly believes in history as a way to bring a paradoxically new outlook on a fancy – and rich – professional world. Since she received her Ph.D. degree (Yale University, 2011), she has been creating series of her own wine and culture courses in various higher education institutions (Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Changins, Sciences Po Paris, INSEEC, Ferrandi), giving conferences (UCLA, HEC, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Parsons), and wine tasting masterclasses (OIV, Paris). In addition to academic and professional articles, she authored history volumes and wine tasting books. Her goal is to create a new wine terminology and to enrich wine culture as a whole. She has been appointed President of the International OIV Award Jury in the spring of 2019 and Associate Professor (Ferrandi, Paris).

Relationships between the nature of wine, the human condition, and the constituent elements of the universe, long before the discoveries of modern science, have allowed scientists to present the many facets of wine and the men who drink it. From ancient Greek times, doctors incorporated wine into their prescriptions, a legacy well preserved in medieval medical thought.

An essential element for good health, the wine has a power of physiological alteration, hence the necessary adaptation of the wine to the drinker, which implies a moral form of conduct of good manners. The drinker becomes an amateur not only if he knows how to choose the wine that suits his constitution but also if he masters the rate of consumption and knows how to measure the proportions that allow him to maintain – or restore – good health.

In a thought eager for equivocity and with multiple points of view, the only consensus, in addition to the necessary moderation, is the agreement between the wine and its drinker. A good wine is one that suits the humoral mixture of the latter, responding to his body, his needs, and his pleasure.

This post is also available in French