John von Heyking has a review of Roger Scruton’s book I Drink, Therefore I am: A Philosopher’s Guide to Wine. In addition to being a philosopher, composer, and fox-hunter, Scruton is also a wine connoisseur. According to von Heyking, Scruton

encourages us to recognize that stream of liquid descending from our pursed lips into our throat as the red or golden chord that runs from heaven to earth, and binds everything in-between into a cosmic whole. Wine both reflects and helps constitute our participation in all strata of reality, and points the way to our redemption.

Scruton reflects on the history of wine and its meaning:

At some level, I venture to suggest, the experience of wine is a recuperation of that original cult whereby the land was settled and the city built. And what we taste in the wine is not just the fruit and its ferment, but also the peculiar flavour of a landscape to which the gods have been invited and where they have found a home. Nothing else that we eat or drink comes to us with such a halo of significance, and by refusing to drink it people send an important message — the message that they do not belong on this earth (p. 137).

Wine is “a living thing” that is more than simply another beverage or food to be consumed. As von Heyking puts it,

The moral significance of wine lies in this: because its joyous taste is received like a revelation, it encourages an attitude of gratitude toward others and toward things. The joy of imbibing wine results in our awareness that something this wonderful nearly shares our own substance (on account of being inside of us) and points to individual people and things outside of us. Wine helps us experience others not as other things or people, but as dignified individuals whose existence, like ours, is a gift.

Furthermore, wine teaches the virtue of moderation without which the goodness of wine is lost. Perhaps if we could just get the Congress to drink wine with a philosophical disposition, they would quit spending money like drunken sailors.

h/t Richard Avramenko

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Mark T. Mitchell
Mark T. Mitchell teaches political theory at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA. He is the author Michael Polanyi: The Art of Knowing and The Politics of Gratitude: Scale, Place, and Community in a Global Age (Potomac Books, 2012). He is co-editor of another book titled, The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry. Currently he is writing a book on private property. In 2008-9, while on sabbatical at Princeton University, he and Jeremy Beer hatched a plan to start a website dedicated to political decentralism, economic localism, and cultural regionalism. A group of like-minded people quickly formed around these ideas, and in March 2009, FPR was launched. Although he was raised in Montana and still occasionally longs for the west, he lives in Virginia with his wife, three sons and one daughter where they are in the process of turning a few acres into a small farm. See books written by Mark Mitchell.


  1. Too hell with Terrorists, what we need is Terroirists.

    Would that Laphroaig taught my Black Irish Cranial Tenants Under House Arrest …ehhh: “moderation”.

    I’d say we grab most them thar “politicians” in Warshington and start pounding them down that 5,000 foot deep exsanguination in the Gulf till it relents. Keep pushing them into the pipe after it relents in fact. Redundancy is only prudent.

  2. “…and eventually she came to love the city and to be terrified by it in almost equal measure.” – Styron

    Wine is perhaps so alluring because danger is an ever-present reality.

  3. I’ve been told that unbelievable amounts of port were consumed at the Constitutional Convention. Evidence on God’s favor for our country?

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