As already stated, wines are divided into two great classes, natural wines and fortified wines. The chief natural wines are claret, hock, and the Hungarian, Italian, Australian, and Californian wines; the principal fortified wines being port, sherry, Marsala, Madeira, and, as a rule, champagne. A few short notes on these various wines are appended, attention being chiefly directed to the points of practical importance from the medical point of view, viz., the proportion of alcohol, sugar, and acid present in each.


A natural wine containing from 8 to 13 per cent, of alcohol, about 1/4 per cent, of sugar, and about 1/2 per cent, of acid.


Similar to claret, rather higher percentage of alcohol as a rule, and richer in extractives, and has therefore more body. Chablis, a white Burgundy made from white grapes.


Similar alcoholic strength to claret; only traces of sugar, and acidity about the same as claret; very small amount of acetic acid; good keeping qualities.

Hungarian Wines

Two varieties; red and white; alcoholic strength as in claret; almost free of sugar.

Italian Wines

Red and white; rather low percentage of alcohol, and relatively high acidity.

Californian And Australian Wines

Full-bodied natural wines; red and white variety.


A fortified wine, containing from 15 to 20 per cent, of alcohol; full of body, on account of large amount of extractives; relatively low acidity, but good deal of tannic acid, which diminishes with age. Rich in sugar (from 1 to 6 per cent.), giving a strong, dry wine or strong, sweet wine respectively.


The white wine of Spain. A fortified wine; percentage of alcohol similar to port. Amount of sugar varies very greatly; may contain mere traces or as much as 4 per cent., giving a strong, dry wine or strong, sweet wine respectively. Low acidity; improves greatly with age.


Similar to sherry; rich in volatile ethers. Dry and sweet varieties, as with port and sherry.


A Sicilian wine resembling sherry, but contains on an average more sugar; very slightly acid.


A fortified sparkling wine; may be dry or sweet Sugar varies from nothing to 12 or 14 per cent. True dryness is the result of age, and is due to a very slow conversion of sugar into alcohol; in many commercial preparations the "dryness" is attained artificially, and really represents very varying degrees of acidity. Acidity, about § per cent.; alcohol, about 10 to 12 per cent.

Cider And Perry

Made from apple and pear respectively; very mildly alcoholic, 2 to 8 per cent. Sugar, .2 to .6 per cent.; slightly acid, 1 to .6per cent., chiefly malic acid. The more acid wines may contain as much as 20 grains of tartaric acid per tumblerful.

Medicated Wines

There are several varieties of "medicated wines" in the market, such as " meat and malt wine," made from extract of meat, malt extract, and sherry or port; and "coca wine," made from cocoa leaves and sometimes cocaine. The use of these wines is to be strongly deprecated from every point of view.

It is, perhaps, hardly necessary to say that many of the cheap wines imported into this country are artificial, being made from cider or ordinary potato and grain spirit, flavoured with cenanthic ether, and coloured, by aniline dyes or by vegetable extracts like madder, beetroot, or logwood. As an example, the following is a recipe for making "port" (Knight): -

Cider . . 3000.

Kino . . 8.

Old hock with cider . 3000 Brandy . . . 1000.

Nitric ether alcoholised. . . 8.

For the detection of these impurities, elaborate schemes are given in analytical works.