You won’t need a finely tuned nose to detect a whiff of desperation for people to buy more wine in January in this article. That’s because January is a terrible month to work in the wine industry – you hardly sell a drop, yet for some reason your staff and suppliers still ask to be paid. Of course, I can’t claim this is unfair. January is the famine that follows December’s feast.
Whether or not you believe in detox – I don’t (especially now I work in the wine industry) and there are many in the medical profession who would agree – it’s most common in January because December is the time when Britain’s problem with binge drinking looms largest. All year round, in fact, over half of all the alcohol consumed by adults in the UK is consumed during a binge drinking session. To corroborate this, I could show you the expressions on many peoples’ faces when I tell them that a 5-litre box of wine can last for up to six weeks after opening.
Encouragingly – whether it’s because of social media, less disposable income or better education – young Brits seem to be developing much more sensible drinking habits. Though still not as smart as the Italians. Of the 28 nationalities in the EU, Italians are the most likely to have a drink every day, yet the least likely to binge drink (I’m not going to tell you where the UK sits in this table, but suffice to say that if Brexit ever happens, the EU average is going to look a whole lot better).
In short, I encourage you to do as the Italians do: drink one or two glasses of wine a day all year round – preferably Italian and preferably from a box – but don’t get drunk unless the occasion really, really merits it. My recommendation for Dry January? A nice dry Cortese or a Barbera perhaps?