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I feel that any discussion of wine should mention its downsides as well as pleasures. So, I will get them of my list now, before anyone much is reading this blog.DrinkingLimits

Before chlorination of water, most people discovered that wine was healthier than water for the very simple reason that the water was often full of the microbes. Pasteur showed us that good health depended on sterilized water. By the end of the 19th Century, three common ways were known: add alcohol, add chlorine, heat it. Before Pasteur, beer, wine, mead and so on were safer than water. And often more pleasurable.

The puritanical streak in Americans, which Garrison Keillor sends up in Lake Wobegon, was probably the basis for the Volstead Act. If someone is enjoying himself, let’s make it illegal. Whatever divine inspiration started Prohibition, it depended on people being able to safely drink water.

Well, the only thing any prohibition of a popular activity does, is create a mafia to supply it. Bans on alcoholic beverages, pot, other drugs may make fanatics feel virtuous, but they do little to stop use. The ban often makes use more dangerous, because the supplier has even more incentive to adulterate his product. No inspection to contend with, why not add some cheap stuff to the product?

But, there is one prohibition I do endorse: you shoLegalWIneLimit-NBuld not drive while impaired. I think this was well illustrated by the affluenza creep. Murder people and get off because you’re drunk? His DWI should have been cause for a more-or-less permanent lockup, not release.

I have two figures I copied from New Mexico and other’s web sites that are included so you can see one estimate of how much you can safely drink and still legally drive. Perhaps even better, if you like to have a glass of wine and drive home, purchase a blood alcohol content meter. Quite a few models are available for under $20. The BAC test is probably better because age, sickness, medicines, genetics and who-knows-what-else can create errors in the estimates from the figure.

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