Wines, brandy, and whisky have been excluded from U. S. P., ix., because of their inexact contents of alcohol. White wine contains about 10 per cent. of alcohol, and is made from grape juice without skins, stems, or seeds.
All wines contain various acids and traces of mineral substances. Those which are free from sugar are called "dry" wines.
are made from colored grapes with the skins, and have considerable alcoholic strength. Port wine, vinum portense, contains from 30 to 40 per cent. of alcohol, but is rarely pure.
As stimulants and in narcotic power these wines stand next to brandy and whisky. They contain some tannic acid and are astringent, causing constipation and disordering the stomach. They also tend to raise the temperature.
Vinum xericum, or sherry, belongs to the dry spirituous wines. It contains 17 per cent. of alcohol, and is usually made artificially. It assists digestion if taken during meals.
Sparkling wines, of which champagne is the most important, are bottled before fermentation is complete, and are effervescent, being charged with carbonic acid. They are more intoxicating than others in proportion to their strength, are less stimulating to the heart, and liable to leave headache and sour stomach as aftereffects when freely taken. In small doses they are gastric sedatives, champagne especially being so. Given ice-cold and in teaspoonful doses, at short intervals, it may be retained by an irritable stomach which rejects everything else. In giving champagne in this way care is necessary to prevent escape of the gas and flattening of the wine. A champagne tap is used, and the bottle held head downward. In the intervals it is kept on ice in the same position.
Sweet wines, including Burgundy and Madeira, are rather trying to the digestion. They disorder the stomach and cause headache. They contain 6 or 7 per cent. of alcohol.
Dry acid wines - the German and some of the French wines - are stimulant, and do not cause acid fermentation. They contain from 5 to 7 per cent. of alcohol.