Is There Truth In Sparkling Wine?

27th March 2023

Is There Truth In Sparkling Wine

‘In vino veritas’ is of course a well known and widely quoted Latin phrase that literally means ‘In wine there is truth’. Comparable quotes are found across all kinds of cultures and in all kinds of languages. So do the French have ‘Ce que le sobre tient au cœur est sur la langue du buveur’, meaning ‘What the sober hold in their heart is on the drinker’s tongue’. The English have ‘A drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts’. A Spaniard says ‘Cuando el vino entra, echa el secreto afuera’, which translates into ‘When the wine enters, it throws the secret out’. The Dutch tell us ‘Kinderen en dronkaards spreken de waarheid’, meaning ‘Children and drunk people speak the truth’. And to finish off, the Filipinos say ‘Nasa Inuman ang Katotohanan’ or ‘Truth is in Drinking’. They all agree on the fact that drinking Champagne, wine, or any other alcoholic beverage will bring about truth. But what exactly is this relation between wine and truth – IS there really truth in wine?

How to hold a Glass of Champagne

Let’s first go back to the origin of the phrase ‘In vino veritas’. By some, the quote is traced back to a poem by Alcaeus of Mytilene (600 BC) who was a lyric poet from the Greek island of Lesbos. Another reference goes back to Herodotus from Halicarnassus (450 BC) who asserted that if the Persians decided something while drunk, they made a rule to reconsider it when sober. In later times it was added that if the Persians made a decision while sober, they made a rule to reconsider it when they were drunk. Both positions of the Persians do of course have their relevance.

Hence, the wisdom captured in the quote ‘In vino veritas’ goes already a long way back. So probably there is some credibility in the saying.

Three things can not hide for long: the Sun, the Moon and the Truth.
(Gautama Buddha)

Knowing a little about the history of the quote, a relevant question then is: what IS truth in the first place? This is, of course, a rather philosophical question, but still, we need to answer it first, if we want to find it. Truth is commonly defined as that which is in accordance with reality. As such truth is only a quality of something else. Truth is not something in itself. So if there is truth in wine it can only be a property of the wine, because in wine there’s only wine! Then the truth in wine means something like the observation that wine is in accordance with reality. Or to put it in another way: as the wine is real, it includes truth.

In Vino Veritas

Round, round with the glass, boys, as fast as you can,
Since he who don’t drink cannot be a true man.
For if truth is in wine, then ’tis all but a whim
To think a man’s true when the wine’s not in him.
Drink, drink, then, and hold it a maxim divine
That there’s virtue in truth, and there’s truth in good wine!

(Benjamin Cooke, 1770)

Where do Champagne bubbles come from

So now we are getting somewhere. Truth is a property of wine. So drinking wine increases your truth. Now how is this possible? For that, we need to compare wine with other drugs. In general, drugs claim to elevate the perception of the user such that the user enters a transcendental realm. These drugs lie to us because they tell us about another world outside our own. Instead, wine and Champagne tell us about the true world, the one we live in, by revealing more about it. So unlike other mind-altering drugs, sparkling wine is honest in nature. When drunk in company, sparkling wine leads to an opening out of the self to others. As we drink wine each of us reveals more of ourselves to others; we talk more and more openly. Under the influence of sparkling wine we are more likely to speak about our hidden true thoughts and desires. So I suggest sipping another glass, so the truth will reveal itself.

Good vibes!

Corné van Nijhuis – World’s first self-declared Vinosopher

Corné van Nijhuis

Longing for knowledge and wisdom about the nature of wine and the existential meaning associated with it, which makes him a self-declared vinosopher.