A collection of wine related quotes attributed to artists, authors, religious leaders, winemakers and comedians throughout history.
Renaissance artists Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci held wine in very high esteem:
“I feast on wine and bread, and feasts they are.”
“The discovery of a good wine is increasingly better for mankind than the discovery of a new star.”
Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)
Ben Franklin may or may not have been aware Leonardo's comment. At any rate, a similar quote is attributed to him:
“The discovery of a wine is of greater moment than the discovery of a constellation.
The universe is too full of stars.”
Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)
Other public figures of Franklin's era commented on the importance of wine:
“By making this wine vine known to the public, I have rendered my country as great a service as if I had enabled it to pay back the national debt.”
Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)“
Clearly, the pleasures wines afford are transitory—but so are those of the ballet, or of a musical performance. Wine is inspiring and adds greatly to the joy of living.”
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821)
Wine has been described by writers, scientists and musicians:
“Language is wine upon the lips”
Virginia Woolf (1882–1941
“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.”
Galileo Galilei (1564–1642)
"Couldn't understand a single word he said but he sure had some mighty fine wine…
and I helped him drink his wine"
3 Dog Night—Joy to the world (1969– )
Wine Through the Ages
Wine has been commented on since ancient times:
“The peoples of the Mediterranean began to emerge from barbarism when they learnt to
cultivate the olive and the vine.”
Thucydides (c. 460–400 BC)
“In wine there is truth.” (“In vino verities” )
“In anger, in wine, and in a child, there is truth.”
Pliny—Historia Naturalis (c. AD 23–79)
“Anyone who knows his history… must surely know his wines.”
Arnold Toynbee (1852–1883)
Wine and Romance
Wine's association with love has a long history:
“Where there is no wine there is no love.”
Euripides (c. 480–406 BC)
“Bacchus opens the gate of the heart. ”
Homer (Eighth Century BC)
“Who loves not wine, women and song, remains a fool his whole life long.”
Johann Heinrich Voss often attributed to Martin Luther
“Wine gives courage and makes men more apt for passion.”
Ovid (43 BC–17 AD)
“In water one sees one's own face; But in wine one beholds the heart of another”
“With wine in hand, one reaches the happy state—where men are wise, women beautiful; and even one's children begin to look promising.”
Robert Mondavi contribution to the U.S. wine industry includes promoting the idea that wine consumption is a natural addition to everyday dining:
“Wine to me is passion. It's family and friends. It's warmth of heart and generosity of spirit. Wine is art. It's culture. It's the essence of civilization and the art of living.”
Robert Mondavi (1913–2008) in Harvests of Joy (Autobiography)
"In Europe we thought of wine as something as healthy and normal as food and also a great giver of happiness and well being and delight. Drinking wine was not a snobbism nor a sign of sophistication nor a cult; it was as natural as eating and to me as necessary."
Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961)
“Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.”
“A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine.”
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755–1826)
Wine and Health
Health benefits of drinking wine (in moderation) are frequently in the news these days, but the belief in wines contribution to long and healthy life is not new:
“There are more old wine drinkers than old doctors.”
“Drink a glass of wine after your soup, and you steal a ruble from the doctor.”
“I think it is a great error to consider a heavy tax on wines as a tax on luxury.
On the contrary, it is a tax on the health of our citizens.”
“Wine is the healthiest and most health-giving of drinks.”
Louis Pasteur (1822–1895)
“Wine had such ill effects on Noah’s health that it was all he could do to live 950 years.
Show me a total abstainer that ever lived that long.”
Will Rogers (1879–1935)
Which leads us to:
Humorous Wine Quotes
“When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.”
Henny Youngman (1906-1998)
“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.”
W.C. Fields (1880–1964)
“There are two reasons for drinking wine; one is when you are thirsty, to cure it; the other, when you are not thirsty, to prevent it… Prevention is always better than a cure.”
Thomas Love Peacock (1785-1866)
“The problem with some people is that when they aren't drunk, they're sober.”
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
“Drink wine, and you will sleep well. Sleep, and you will not sin. Avoid sin, and you will be saved. Ergo, drink wine and be saved.”
Medieval German Saying
“The best use of bad wine is to drive away poor relations.”
Making and Enjoying Wine
Harvest and crush can be hot, durty and tiring work:
"It takes a lot of beer to make good wine."
"I can count the number of great Cabernets I made at Beaulieu only by taking off my socks and shoes, but I can count the number of great Pinot Noirs on one hand with change left over."
André Tchelistcheff (1901–1994)
“Burgundies, on the whole, do not keep nearly so long as Clarets; they have more to give, more bouquet and greater vinosity, at first, but they exhaust themselves and fade away sooner than the less aromatic, more reserved Clarets. It is somewhat like some of the carnations, which possess a far more pungent and assertive perfume, when first picked, than any rose; yet the more discreet, the gentler and sweeter perfume of the rose will abide with the bloom as long as the bloom will last.”
Andre L. Simon (1877–1970)
“Burgundy for Kings, Champagne for Duchesses, and claret for Gentlemen.”
“Wine is a living liquid containing no preservatives. Its life cycle comprises youth, maturity, old age, and death. When not treated with reasonable respect it will sicken and die.”
Julia Child (1912-2004)
To keep good wine from turning bad you may want to visit my article on wine storage.
Champagne (sparkling wine outside of France) has its admirers:
"Champagne always tastes better in magnum, but—alas!—they take longer to cool."
"Remember gentlemen, it's not just France we are fighting for, its Champagne!"
Winston Churchill (1874–1965)
"Champagne; in victory I deserve it and in defeat I need it."
Winston Churchill (also attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte)
"Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right."
Mark Twain (1835–1910)
"I drink champagne when I'm happy, and when I'm sad. Sometimes, I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I'm not hungry, and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it, unless I'm thirsty."
Madame Bollinger (“Lilly” or “Tante Lilly’)
“Champagne is one of the elegant extras in life.”
Charles Dickens (1812–1870)
“My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne.”
John Maynard Keynes (1883–1946)
“Three are the things I shall never attain—Envy, content and sufficient champagne.”
Dorothy Parker (1893–1967)
Wine and Religion
ªNo thing more excellent nor more valuable than wine was ever granted mankind by God.”
Plato (c. 427–347 BC)
“God made only water, but man made wine.”
Victor Hugo (1802–1885) in Les Contemplations
ªWine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.”
“Up to the age of forty eating is beneficial. After forty, drinking.”
The Babylonian Talmud, 200BC
There are several references to wine in the Bible:
“Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.”
The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy, 5:23
“Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.”
And religious leaders have commented on wine:
“Wine in itself is an excellent thing.”
Pope Pius XII (1876–1958)
“If God forbade drinking, would He have made wine so good?”
Cardinal Richelieu (1585–1642)
“(Wine is) the divine juice of September.”
Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet), French writer, (1694–1778)
“One barrel of wine can work more miracles than a church full of saints.”
Wine in Moderation
With all these accolades to wine it is important to remember to not over indulge:
“Wine was created from the beginning to make men joyful, and not to make men drunk.
Wine drunk with moderation is the joy of soul and the heart.”
"Wine, in moderation, unfolds a man's brain; a teetotaler rarely possesses great wisdom."
“If you drink, don't drive. Don't even putt.”
Following Dean Martin's advice, if you are in San Francisco and plan to go wine tasting in the Napa Valley and/or Sonoma County Wine Country, you should check out our Wine Tours.
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