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Delhi Wine Club
Blog: Don't Drink and Walk

Posted: Wednesday, 25 May 2011 14:36

Blog: Don't Drink and Walk

May 25: A fellow judge with me for five years at several international wine events and competitions including MundusVini and Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, the Portuguese journalist Anibal Coutinho flummoxed me when he recently gave me his new business card that had as a slogan- Don't Drink and Walk on the Road.

‘This is actually the short form of one of the mandatory messages one is required to put on every label of a wine or spirit bottle in South Africa,’ Anibal informs me. The full warning is, ‘Don't drink and walk on the road, you may be killed’.

One already knows and hopefully follows the ubiquitous ‘Don’t drink and drive’ health warning but why advise against walking, I ask Anibal who is often in South Africa where he co-authors wine books with another fellow judge and journalist Neil Pendock and buys Pinotage grapes grown by the latter for the interesting low-cost wine he is making for the international market along with a white wine from Vinho Verde. He informed me that many black workers in South Africa get perpetually drunk with cheap liquor after work and start walking home. They are so drunk that often they get off the road and are knocked down by passing cars.

Slightly bewildered, I asked Neil who was also at the Concours in Luxembourg, and he confirmed the same. He also clarified that there are a few other options for health warnings -the wine and spirits producers are required by law to put any of those on the label. Here are some of the others that one needs to choose out of and print on the label as a health warning:

1. Alcohol reduces driving ability, don't drink and drive.
2. Alcohol increases your risk to personal injuries.
3. Alcohol is a major cause of violence and crime.
4. Alcohol abuse is dangerous to your health.
5. Alcohol is addictive.
6. Drinking during pregnancy can be harmful to your unborn baby.

Whereas not many would justify challenging the mandatory warning, the accidents and deaths caused by drunken driving are avoidable and unnecessary. However, the mandatory warning on Anibal’s business card that caught my attention, ought to make one stop and think for a minute.

It is another matter that the warnings perhaps ought not to relate to wine when drunk in moderation (two glasses a day). However, if one were given the option in India to choose one out of this list, the warning- ‘Don't drink and walk on the road, you may be killed’, might be the lightest on the palate but equally communicative of the dangers of drinking alcohol beyond limits.

Subhash Arora


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