Ancient Egypt, Middle Ages and the 21st Century are the three temporary scenarios of wine that will be basting together this round table
To be included within the program of activities at FENAVIN 2007 - trade fair that will take place from May 7th to the 10th at the Ciudad Real Trade Fair Pavilion- this round table will be offering different social perspectives of wine within a very extensive temporary scale.
Rosa M. Lamuela-Raventós, Full Professor of the Bromatology Department of the University of Barcelona, formed part of the scientific team that identified the remains of wine found in some of Tutankhamen's funerary trousseau amphoras. Existence of these remains is known since 2004, although it was not until a series of innovated methods were applied in 2006 that it was possible to distinguish the presence of three types of wine: white, red and 'shedeh', a special sweet type.
The pitchers -signed by the master vintner Khaa and with an inscription reading 'Very Good'- were about 3300 years old, which goes to prove that the ancient Egyptians already elaborated wines 1500 years before it was thought. However, it also makes manifest the diversity of 'market products' that already existed at the time and the importance that an article such as wine had in the Egypt of the Pharaohs. As commented by Professor Lamuela-Raventós: "Wine was a very exclusive beverage, used in the liturgies of the temples and in the funerary rites, apart from being consumed on a daily basis by the most favored social classes".
Antoni Riera i Melis is Professor Emeritus and Director of the Medieval History Department of the Faculty of Geography and History at the University of Barcelona, and member of the 'Catalan Society of Historical Studies'. He is an expert in the social and cultural history of food and his intervention will be focused on the different roles held by wine and its culture in the Middle Ages, ranging from the glasses of wines served in the taverns, right through to its use as a religious sacrament. Professor Riera highlights that "an enormous amount of information exists about the uses given to wine throughout the Middle Age, although in most cases they are mere small fragments, disperse in a multitude of documents. Recomposing the history of Medieval wine is a painstaking task and there is still much to be done".
Juan Antonio Zafra Mezcúa is Head of the Preventative Medicine Service at the Hospital de Puerto Real and Full Professor of the Preventative Medicine and Public Health Department at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Cádiz. His lecture will verse on a subject as current as 'The limit of risk in the consumption of alcoholic drinks'. Thus he will be explaining how alcoholic content is metered and Blood Alcohol Content, apart from the relevant metabolic differences between men and women with regards to alcohol absorption, or the establishment of 'safe', 'risky' and 'harmful' consumption levels. At any rate, Professor Zafra does not doubt when he affirms that "from a Public Health perspective, the message is crystal clear: there is no scientific evidence to establish safety limits in the consumption of alcohol, and particularly amongst children and teenagers, the most vulnerable groups".