There is always some question as to whether ‘wine’ and ‘health’ should ever be used in the same sentence, and while there might be no shortage of column inches dedicated to the virtues of a glass of red, this remains an area where scepticism and opposing research abounds. So, we decided NOT to look at what physical effects (good or bad) wine might have, and instead look at the potential wellbeing benefits to ensue from its role - in moderation - as a ‘social lubricant,’ for want of a better word. A shared glass of wine is, for all intents and purposes, a catalyst to conversation, bonding and relationship building. The sum total of these benefits can, in some cases, be greater than the net of negatives from low-level alcohol consumption. As William Shakespeare himself once said, ‘good company, good wine, good welcome, can make good people.’ And just as wine can enhance the benefits of social interaction...good company can likewise enhance our enjoyment of the wine itself. This is because our emotional state affects our appreciation of sensory stimuli, apparently, and tasting wine is ‘not so much a function of our hardware (the nose and palate) as it is of the software (the mind or brain)’ so says, Neel Burton , author of the Concise Guide to Wine and Blind Tasting. If there is one condition, however, on which ALL of the most valid wine/wellbeing theories hinge... it is QUALITY. The importance of quality over quantity is something that the healthiest of wine drinking cultures have long understood, and it’s a mindset that is now also driving the English wine movement/industry. English winemakers and vineyards (of which there are 502 in operation) go to great lengths to produce high standard wines. The industry took a little while to get going, but the attention to detail and quality of the end product has helped give wine a much-needed leg to stand on (excuse the pun!) in today’s increasingly alcohol-averse times!