Another week, another survey conducted by a team of experts from some highly suspect university in some far-flung corner of the globe.

In fact almost every day there's a revelation regarding coffee, meat, sunlight, fruit, vegetables, dairy products, muesli, jogging, wine ... It's either good for you, bad for you, okay in small doses, to be avoided at all costs or embraced with all the enthusiasm you can muster. It gets so confusing you'd be excused for not wanting to get out of bed in the morning.

Ultimately, a good dose of common sense ought to prevail and probably your mother's mantra of "most things in moderation" has a lot going for it.

When it comes to drinking wine there are some obvious, verifiable conclusions. Wine contains alcohol and too much affects the brain, mood, and behaviour and can do serious social, physical and psychological damage. No dispute there. Ancient civilisations respected wine for certain medicinal properties.


For example, the Greek physician Hippocrates recommended its use as a disinfectant, especially for the wounds of gladiators, and felt that when consumed in small amounts it aided digestion.

To be honest, until around the 17th century it was probably safer to drink wine than water. Today we are warned of the considerable dangers of alcohol when binge drinking - liver and brain damage and the possible incidence of some cancers, blood disorders and pressure fluctuations, skin infections and the damage to unborn babies if women drink when pregnant.

Then there are the proponents of moderate drinking, who claim considerable evidence that red wine in particular, usually when consumed with food, can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and assist blood flow in the body.

I'm no expert and become as confused as the next person. All agree, however, on the importance of drinking water alongside the wine. The rule of thumb seems to be that for every glass of wine we should down at least one of water. Wine is not meant to be a thirst-quencher and should always be treated with a high level of respect.

The mantra "drink less, drink better quality" may have a lot going for it.

Acqua Panna Natural Spring Water, $4.50
Sourced and bottled in the heart of a 1300ha natural reserve overlooking the rolling hills of Tuscany. Clear and luminous, with a lightness that avoids the over-chlorinated, hard tap water that dulls the palate.

2010 Mud House Golden Terraces Pinot Noir, $30
Made from 100 per cent Central Otago grapes, this wine has already picked up a number of local and international awards. It has lively flavours of dark cherry and berry fruit, with flashes of mocha, cinnamon, freshly crushed herbs and soft tannins.