Chemotherapy and Winetherapy


Long before wine was a social lubricant or a play toy of the rich, it was a sacramental beverage. From its ethereal qualities wine was recognized as a medium between Earth and Heaven. The Church sadly stamped it with the designation of the Blood of Christ, and its fate as a religious object, rather than spiritual one, was sealed. Better that it would have remained an alternative tool of meditation. But some people still get the idea.

A woman came into the wine store and asked for a tame red wine for her friend who was undergoing chemotherapy and suffered gastro reflux. She realized that most reds were tannic and acidic but the friend craved a glass of wine to take the edge off. The friend was dying of cancer and facing leaving two young children. “She’s writing years of birthday cards for them,” her friend said. A young mother struggling with leaving the children she bore; knowing her children would grow without the pillar of her love and protection. I struggled to find a couple of bottles and ring up the purchase without weeping in front of the busy lineup.

It was the first time that I wasn’t selling a hostess gift or a pairing to chicken or a conversation starter. Wine and spirits are classified in economic terms as luxury items, but sometimes they harken back to the way they were viewed five hundred years ago, as conduits between ourselves and our spirit world. Not a luxury at all.


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