The Ecology of Humans (50-11) Grapes


It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine. ~ Romans 14:21, The Bible

A grape is the fruiting berry of deciduous woody vines in the Vitis genus. These vines are one of the earliest cultivated plants. Wine was made from grapes in the south Caucasus 6000 bce.

The grape’s popularity owes to its easy fermentation and a fondness for alcoholic beverages. Yeast that naturally live on the skin of grapes led to discovery of wine.

There are 10,000 grape cultivars from the 65 different grape species. The color of grapes ranges from white, yellow, green, orange, pink, crimson, dark blue, to black.

From the ancient Greeks onward, every European culture has embraced wine in its cultural traditions. Though the Bible is conflicted on the substance, wine has long held a prominent position in Christian ritual.

Wine cheereth God and man. ~ Judges 9:13, The Bible

In contrast, the Koran is clear-cut in disdaining intoxicants, notably alcoholic beverages.

Intoxicants are but defilement from the work of Satan. ~ Surat Al-Mā’idah (The Table Spread) سورة المائدة 5:90, The Koran

Today, wine consumes 65% of the grapes grown. The remaining 35% is eaten as table grapes and raisins, and drank as grape juice.

Grapes and raisins can be toxic to dogs. Yet some dogs eat grapes with impunity. The cause of the problem is not known.

For us, grapes provide vitamin C, K, antioxidants, and other phytonutrients, notably resveratrol. Plants produce resveratrol to fight off fungal and bacterial pathogens. Peanuts are a significant source of resveratrol.

A glass has been raised to red wine, in most modest moderation, as being beneficial to cardiovascular health. Resveratrol has been pin-pointed, along with antioxidant activity.

The anecdotal evidence for red wine’s positive power is called the French paradox. The French people have a relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease despite a diet rich in saturated fats. The red wine that washes French food down is credited as offsetting the otherwise deleterious effect of diet.

That wine is beneficial to health is as scientifically convincing as the hokum of homeopathy and the tooth fairy. At best it is a confusion of correlation with cause, which is the frequent and grievous methodological mistake of scientists.