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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Friday, January 09 2009. 11:25

Blog: Wincarnis Wine- Tonic yet not Tannic

Wincarnis is a tonic wine that has been sipped for over 120 years for its health benefits much before it was discovered that tannins in red wine are anti-ageing and have anti-oxidants.

I was foxed by a call earlier this week from a church official.

The pastor was not well and had expressed a keen desire to drink some tonic wine. I didn't know where it would be available but I did advise him some tannic wine instead because our stringent excise registration license policy would not make it viable to sell it. Although chemists have the luxury of stocking cough syrups and ayurvedic formulations steeped with drugs, I doubt if wine would be allowed to be sold as a tonic in chemist shops as an over-the counter drug.

Being curious, I asked the caller if he was looking for a particular label. 'Wincarnis is a very popular and one of the best tonic wines in the world,' he said. So I did some research and came up with interesting information.

The Health Connection

Since first produced in UK in 1887, Wincarnis has been recommended especially for mothers after child-birth, by those recovering from an operation or those simply wanting a 'pick me up'. In the 1920s, it was actually prescribed by doctors in the UK because of its positive effects.

The British Journal of Nursing in 1929 recorded: "Many nurses have found that in anaemic conditions, during convalescence, and in post-operation cases, Wincarnis stimulates appetite, promotes digestion, and effects marked improvement in nutrition." Besides the Brits ( I suspect our pastor is from UK) people in many other countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Gulf and even Jamaicans are its ardent fans.

I came across an Ad in Sunday edition of New York Times dated March 14, 1915 which describes it as a healthy UK import with trial samples available at 10 cents. The ad also mentioned it had been available in UK for 30 years.

Tasting Notes

Not exactly an old grandma's prescription, Wincarnis is wine fortified with malt extract and select therapeutic herbs and spices including: balm mint; fennel, coriander and cardamom seeds and peppermint leaves. The natural tonic is traditionally recognised for its ability to fight common ailments and alleviate their symptoms. It is rich in vitamins, especially Vitamin B complex and benefits the circulation system and blood pressure.
Broadland Wineries 

Wincarnis is produced in Norfolk, UK by Broadland Wineries and is available online at their website £5. The brand was owned by Hedges & Butler which was acquired in 1998 by Ian Macleod Distillers Ltd of Scotland who market the tonic wine which also comes in a variant as ginger wine
Interestingly, the winery was bought last year in November by Indage Vintners Ltd. A mail to Indage did not elicit any response whether the deal was finally closed. But a statement by Broadband earlier this week confirms that the deal has fallen through.

If the good Pastor can convince the congregation about the good effects, it might even become a popular tonic for health conscious people, even those who do not consume alcohol or wine.

And if you can share any information you may have about the availability of this or any other tonic wine anywhere in India, do share it with us.


Subhash Arora




Subhash Arora Says:

It is difficult to say. Ordinary wine may not be drinkable after so many years. But since it has herbs inside it may still be drinkable. Best to open and try it. It cannot be dangerous to take that sip to decide if it is or not.

Posted @ November 19, 2015 11:05


Nancy Says:

I have an unopen Wincarnis that should be 20 to 30 years old. Do you think is still drinkable.

Posted @ November 19, 2015 10:10


Subhash Arora Says:

It might be good for the pregnant mother but certainly not beyond 4 glasses a week-taken at 125 mL size glass. Preferably take 4 half glasses a week-and preferably not on consecutive days. In case of any doubts, best to consult your doctor who should be hopefully evolved and in step with such studies in the world. In Denmark they allow 4 drinks a week whereas in many countries they still warn against any wine-a glass here and there accepted. Remember-with wine or tonic wine, the issue is alcohol. Arora

Posted @ June 23, 2014 16:46


Leda Says:

Hi,can anyone tell me is the tonic wine safe for pregnancy women. Thank you

Posted @ June 23, 2014 16:46


Subhash Arora Says:

There would be many who would put you on total abstinence. Denmark has done several studies and their national diet prescribes 4 glasses (125 mL each) a week max, but no more than one ever night. I have talked to many women in iIaly. They usually take 2 glasses a week-but not on the same evening. I'd say 2- 4 glasses a week of red wine is fine, Try to drink wines with lower alcohol- up to 12.5 or 13% Subhash Arora

Posted @ October 25, 2011 17:30


Nancy Says:

hi, i have one query ,can i drink this wine during my pregnancy or after the delivery. kindly answer me regards nancy

Posted @ October 25, 2011 17:27


Melika Chown Says:

I am in my 60s I drink Wincarnis Ginger Wine when I am cold, when I need to walk that extra miles, when I cannot sleep, when my heart is not at rest. Thanks to Singapore Duty Free staff for recommending this wine to me.

Posted @ October 25, 2010 13:34


Subhash Arora Says:

I doubt if it is drinkable at all. But if you want to experiment for the sake of wine drinking community try a few drops. It won't kill you! If it has been lying opened for so may years, I'd throw it away. Arora

Posted @ July 28, 2010 16:50


Sherwin Says:

I like to find out if there is an expiry date for Wincarins wine. I found an opened bottle 8/9 filled in my storeroom recently.I believed it was a gift in early 1970s

Posted @ July 28, 2010 15:34


Ian lobban Says:

I'm a bit confused. Is Wincarnis Tonic Wine considered a red wine and does it contain the health properties of red wine?

Posted @ March 29, 2010 13:03


John Roberts Says:

where is my nearest stockist?? Woolton Liverpool L25 L25 7TE Morrisons, Sainsburys, Tesco or Asda

Posted @ September 17, 2009 17:15


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