Vitrine 7 - Intoxication and sobriety
In ancient times wine was considered a Dionysian-Bacchanal nectar.
The people saw it as a gift from the gods; intoxication enabled them to forget
the burden of everyday life. Wine not only provided nourishment, but was
also a cherished drink at feasts and a sacrificial libation. In modern times
vintners prayed to St. Urban, their patron saint, to protect them from hail and
frost and ensure a good harvest. He was the only Catholic saint to be called
upon in times of need after the dawn of Protestantism.
The Churches considered drunkenness a sin, the state feared it could endanger
its subjects’ ability to work. Thus from the pulpit priests fulminated against
drinking and officials decreed withdrawal in reformatories. Today consumers
value wine as a stimulating and enjoyable drink – in moderation. Wine
producers also target younger people with low-alcohol wine cocktails and
sparkling wine and encourage them to enjoy alcohol responsibly.
Swabians took a cunning approach to the problem of excessive alcohol
consumption. The first West German president Theodor Heuss wrote his
doctoral thesis on winemaking and subtly noted on moderation: »Those who
drink wine – pray; those who guzzle wine – sin! Let us pray!« And even inspector Ernst Bienzle in the German crime series »Tatort« knows: »You don’t throw back a Trollinger, you sip it delicately«.