The ancients had a solution to the alcohol problem, which was to wrap the drink in religious rituals, to treat it as the incarnation of a god, and to marginalize disruptive behaviour as the god's doing, not the worshipper's. Gradually, under the discipline of ritual, prayer and theology, wine was tamed from its orgiastic origins to become a solemn libation to the Olympians and then the Christian Eucharist - that brief encounter with salvation which has reconciliation as its goal. We are familiar with the medical opinion that a daily glass of wine is good for the health and also the rival opinion that any more than a glass or two will set us on the road to ruin. Whether or not good for the body, Scrtuton argues, wine, drunk in the right frame of mind, is definitely good for the soul. And there is no better accompaniment to wine than philosophy. By thinking with wine, you can learn not only to drink in thoughts but to think in draughts. This good-humoured book offers an antidote to the pretentious clap-trap that is written about wine today and a profound apology for the drink on which civilisation has been founded. In vino veritas.
Roger Scruton is currently Research Professor for the Institute for the Psychological Sciences where he teaches philosophy at their graduate school in both Washington and Oxford. He is a writer, philosopher and public commentator. He has specialised in aesthetics with particular attention to music and architecture. He engages in contemporary political and cultural debates from the standpoint of a conservative thinker and is well known as a powerful polemicist. He has written widely in the press on political and cultural issues.