Wine has been enjoyed by humans for thousands of years. The natural likeness for this drink is not only because it tastes wonderful, but also because of its nutritional value and psychotropic effects.

Wine has also had a significant impact on the economy and the shaping of societies. Out of all the alcoholic beverages, it is the trade of wine that allowed exploration of different cultures and paved the way for philosophical and religious ideas to spread. Wine is cited frequently in the “Bible,” from the time of Noah to Jesus, indicating its integral role. Wine-making was also seen as a sign of a provident economy, as only provident societies could accommodate a well-established wine industry. In fact, it is often debated that the foundations of western society were built on wine.  

The wine enjoyed in the olden days is a distant relative to the wine enjoyed today. Red, pink, green, white, and blue grapes were used by the Egyptians to prepare the drink. Palm dates, figs, and pomegranates were often added to the mix too. So the taste was completely different from what we know. Using different fruit to make wine is similar to how it is preThis availability of wineries enables us to visit the rolling hills of a beautiful vineyard closer to home. Yes, it is very likely one is near you, within range for a fun day trip or weekend getaway. So, pack your bags and set your G.P.S. to the winery closest to you!pared using grapes, except that sugar is also added to aid the fermentation process.  

The exact origin of National Wine Day is unknown, but the earliest references date back to 2009. It is a day for wine enthusiasts to unite and celebrate our favorite fermented fruit juice.

Since its establishment in 1812 by Spanish missionaries, California’s wine country in the northern Bay Area of northern California has dominated American wine production and our personal vision of the elegant American vineyard. There were a mere 25 wineries in this area of California in 1974. Today, there are over 800!

While California still leads U.S. wine production and is now home to over 4,000 wineries state-wide, wineries exist across the U.S. with at least three in every state. In fact, the most frequently visited winery today is the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, with over one million people annually.

cr. >> https://nationaltoday.com/national-wine-day/

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Cinchona and malaria
The bitter flavouring of tonic water comes from an alkaloid called quinine which is extracted from the bark of the Andean fever tree (Cinchona spp.).
The tree’s remarkable curative properties were discovered as a fever remedy in South America in the early 17th century.For 300 years, until it was replaced by synthetic anti-malarials, Cinchona provided the only effective treatment for malaria known to the West.
Although we think of malaria as a tropical disease, it once existed all over Europe, including Britain, as recently as the early 20th century.
Spread by mosquitos, it may have been the most lethal disease in history. Malaria was eradicated in Britain by improvements in general health, access to treatment, and better water management.
Draining of marshes, enclosing sewers and chlorinating water all reduced the mosquito’s ability to breed and spread malaria.

Politics and plantations
In 1854, on an expedition on the Niger, Scottish physician William Balfour Baikie used quinine to successfully prevent malaria, rather than as an after-treatment.Prior to this, death rates of Europeans on west African expeditions were extraordinarily high, often due to a particularly fatal form of malaria, and Baikie’s actions had repercussions across the world. Quinine, and the Cinchona tree, now became a vital tool for the control and expansion of empires. Seeds and plants were taken from South America to plantations in India and Java between 1850 and 1865. With its government sponsorship and horticultural expertise, Kew played a central role in transferring the plants to India and developing cultivation practices.This is represented by Kew’s current holding of cinchona specimens in the Herbarium, illustrations, archives, and manuscripts – the largest collection in the world. They form the basis of Kim’s doctoral research, unpicking the story of a plant transfer that was to have a huge impact on the peoples and landscapes of the tropics.

The Gin and Tonic
But how did we end up with the gin and tonic?
Though quinine was occasionally paired with fizzy water, it was only in 1858 that it was patented under the name ‘Tonic Water’ by Erasmus Bond, owner of Pitt & Co. in Islington.It was marketed as a digestive and general tonic rather than a fever medication, and did not immediately become popular. However, tonic water did better in hotter climes, and by 1863 adverts for quinine tonic waters appeared across British colonies advertised as digestives and as (probably ineffective) fever remedies.It was most often recommended to help European travellers acclimatise to the tropical heat. The first known reference to a tonic water cocktail came in 1863 in Hong Kong, where it was paired with ginger brandy.
Many origin legends for the gin and tonic exist, but we have found these hard to verify in the historical record. Quinine was most often administered as a medicine in alcohol, rather than as part of a cocktail. Quinine could be mixed with wine, gin, or rum, or with locally available spirits such as arrack.
What we do know is that the first known record of the ‘gin and tonic’ comes from the Oriental Sporting Magazine in 1868 where partygoers call for the cocktail and cheroots at the end of a horse race in Lucknow, India.

This is typical of Victorian consumption of the G&T, as a refreshing drink in hot weather. The notion that the G&T was drunk in the tropics as an anti-malarial seems to have arisen as a 20th century legend.
The rich history of tonic water has been carefully unearthed in the archives and described in-depth in our new book Just the Tonic: A natural history of tonic water.

We hope you enjoy discovering more as you read it alongside a sparkling gin and tonic (or even just a tonic!). Cheers!

credits >> https://www.kew.org/