Wine, is an agreeable, spirituous, aromatic liquor, prepared by fermenting the juices of those vegetables which contain saccharine matter. Its constituent parts are : 1. Sugar, or the sweet juice, usually termed must, from which the liquor is obtained ; 1. Alkohol, or pure spirit, that is disengaged during the vinous fermentation ; and 3. Water, which is the most innocuous part of the whole, and tends to moderate its properties, that may otherwise prove hurtful.
Wines, in this country, are generally divided into two classes, namely, British, or Home-wade. and Foreign. The first division includes the liquors procured from currants, gooseberries, raspberries, raisins, etc.; the preparation of which being known to every notable house-wife, we shall only state the method, in which Foreign wines are obtained from the fruit of the vine.
When the grapes are sufficiently ripe, they are gathered, and submitted to the action of a press ; from which their juice runs into vessels furnished for that purpose. Here it remains for several hours, or for a few days, according to the temperature of the atmosphere : when the fermentation commences, the liquor rises, and a considerable portion of fixed air, or carbonic acid gas, is evolved. At the expiration of some days, the fermentation ceases : when the liquor be-comes clear, and cool, it is poured into other casks or vessels, where it undergoes a slight degree of a new fermentation; in consequence of which, it becomes divested of all feculent particles, while its taste and flavour are remarkably improved. In order to clarify it still farther, the Albumen, or whites of eggs, Isinglass, etc. are either suspended or dissolved in the cask ; and various other expedients are practised, most of which have already been stated in the article Clarification, as well as in different parts of this work : a summary of these materials, the reader will find in the General Index of Reference. - With the same view, it has been recommended to filter turbid wine through fine sand laid on a sieve ; but, as the mucilage of the foul liquor speedily fills up the interstices, the following method may be preferably employed : it consists simply in showering such sand on the wine, through a sieve ; so that the weight of this mineral may carry along with it, and deposit all the mucilaginous and gross particles tides of such wine. Should, however, any matters accidentally remain, Dr. Darwin directs a little gum-arabic, or a few whites of eggs, to be added ;after which the sand-shower is to be repeated, till the fluiud becomes perfectly clear. The color of wines, is in general, independent of their proper-ties; being in many instances artificial, and imparted to those liquors, after they have come into mercantile hands. Thus, white wines are tinged red, by decoctions of logwood, the juices of elder and bilberries ; in France, by the husks of tinged grapes; and, when a proper colouring matter is required, solutions of stick-lac, and turnsol, have been prop as useful substitutes. There arc, however, other ingredients frequently employed by unprincipled persons ; which produce deleterious effects on the human tem. As it is of great importance to expose such adulterations, we shall communicate a few simple means, by which they may be dis-covered, both by the taste, and by the eye. Thus, if new white wine be of a sweetish flavour, and leave a certain astringency on the tongue; if it have an uncommonly high co-Jour, which is at the same time disproportionate to its nominal age, and to its real strength ; or, it it have an unusually pungent taste, resembling that off brandy, or other ardent spirits, such liquor is generally sophisticated. - Farther, when red wine presents cither a very pale, or a very deep colour ; or possesses a peculiarly tart and astringen taste; or deposits a thick crust the ides or bottoms of glass-vessels it has then probably been coloured
With some of the substances above mentioned; and which may be easily detected, by passing the liquor through filtering paper; when the tinging matters will remain on its surface. Such fraud may also be discovered, by rilling a small phial with the suspected wine, and closing its mouth with the er: the bottle is then to be inverted, and immersed into a bason containing pure water; when, on withdrawing the finger from its aperture, the tinging or adulterating matter will pass into the water, so that the former may be observed sinking to the bottom, by its greater weight.
Wines frequently become tart, and even sour, in consequence of the fermentation having been mis-managed ; or, by keeping them in improper places; or from unfore-. accidents : in these cases, cyder, or the juice of carrots and tur-nips, is commonly mixed with the liquor, to overcome its acidity ; but, as such juices do not always sweeten the wines to a sufficient degree, the latter are often adulterated with alum, or with sugar of lend ; preparations, that cannot fail to be productive of the worst effects ; as they doubtless are slowly operating poisous. Hence we deem it our duty to give an analytical account of the principal tests, or test-li-quors, discovered ingenious chemists; both for the health and sa* tisfaction of our readers. If wine be adulterated with alum, M. BEraud directs a small quantity of the suspected liquor to be mixed with a little time-water : at the end of 10 or 12 hours, the compound must be filtered ; and, if crystals are formed, it contains no alum: in the contrary case, the residuum, after filtration, will split into small quadrilateral segments, that will adhere to the paper on which it is spread.
In order to detect, the litharge, or sugar of lead, 10 or 12 drops of a solution of yellow ORpiment and quick-lime should be poured into a glass of wine : if the colour of the fluid change, and become successively dark-reddish, brown, or black, it is an evident proof of its being adulterated with lead. - As orpiment, however, contains a large proportion of Arsenic, it is apt to produce effects equally fatal with those resulting from the sugar of lead: we shall, therefore, subjoin a few other tests, which are perfectly harmless. Thus, FouRCROY ("History and Memoirs of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris, for the year 1787, " etc.) directs a few drops of vitriolic acid, or of pure saccharine acid, to be introduced into a certain portion of the .suspected liquor. These will cause the lead to sink to the bottom of the glass, in the form of a white powder; which, if laid on apiece of solid charcoal, may be reduced to metallic globules, by means of the lamp and blow-pipe. Never-. the less, he preferably recommends a solution of hepatic gas in distilled water: this, he observes, will, on being added to wine sophisticated with lead, produce a black sediment, and thus shew the smallest quantity of that metal; whereas, in pure wine, no precipitation will take place: - the precipitate of lead may be readily distinguished from that of other minerals, by its deep colour.
Dr. Watson (" Chemical Essays, " vol. iii.) advises 1 oz. of quick-lime, and half an ounce of flowers of sulphur, to be boiled in one pint of water : when the liquor is cold, it must be carefully bottled up; and, on adding a few drops to the wine, or cyder, impregnated , with lead, the colour of the whole will become of a lighter or deeper brown, according to the quantity held in solution. But, as this test also precipitates iron, when dissolved in any vinous fluid, we think the following probatory liquor may be preferably employed : it was invented and published in 1791, by Dr. Hahnemann, but the merit of his claim has lately been assumed by an obscure German chemist in London ; and we understand, that the recipe for this test has been surreptitiously sold to a French speculator, on whose account it is now retailed by several venders, under his directions. Dr. H.'s original test has, within the last three or four years, been simplified and improved ; so that it is now prepared in the following manner : - Let one dram, of the dry liver of sulphur, and two drams of cream of tartar be shaken in two ounces of distilled water, till the whole become saturated with hepatic gas: the liquor must now be filtred through blotting-paper, and kept in a phial closely stopped. - In order to try the purity of wine, from 16 to 20 drops of this test are to be poured into a small glass : if the wine become only turbid, with white clouds, and a similar sediment be deposited, it is then not impregnated with any metallic ingredients. Should it, however, turn muddy or black; its colour approach to a deep red; and its taste be at first sweet, and then astringent; the liquor certainly contains the sugar, or other pernicious preparation of lead. The presence of iron is indicated by the wine acquiring a dark-blue cast, similar to that of pale ink; and, If there be any particles of verdigrease or copper, a blackish-grey sediment will be formed. - In making all these experiments, the test ought to be newly prepared, and the trials made in the open air.
A small portion of sulphur is always mixed with white wines, in order to preserve them : but, if too large a quantity be employed, the wine thus impregnated becomes remarkably intoxicating; oppresses the organs of breathing; and excites intense thirst; while cutaneous eruptions, palpitation of the heart, gout, and numerous other nervous affections, are often induced. Sulphur may, however, be easily detected : for, if a piece of an egg-shell, or of silver, be immersed in the wine, it instantaneously acquires a black hue. - Quick-lime is also frequently mixed with wine, for imparting a beautiful deep-red colour : its presence may be ascertained, by suffering a little wine to stand in a glass, for two or three days; when the lime, held in solution, will appear on the surface, in the form of a thin pellicle or crust.
The last, and certainly the least hurtful, adulteration of wine, is that with water, which may be detected by throwing into it a small piece of quick-lime : for, if the lime be slacked, the wine must have been diluted ; as, on live contrary (which, however, will seldom be the case), such liquor may be considered as pure.
Wine forms an extensive article of commerce : numerous statutes have therefore been enacted, for regulating its importation ; various duties have been imposed ; and such liquor has been subjected to the excise ; but, as" these chiefly concern wine-merchants, and as a detail of them would extend this article to an undue length, we shall not specify the different duties, but conclude with stating the properties of this favourite beverage.
The moderate use of wine certainly conduces to health, especially in weak and languid habits: hence it has been emphatically termed the " milk of the aged :" it accelerates the circulation ; invigorates both the bodily and the mental faculties; increases the action of the stomach; and is of essential service to convalescents, especially to those who are recovering from the severe attacks of typhus, or other malignant fevers. On the other hand, intemperance in wine is productive 'Of DRUNKENNESS, OR INTOXICATION', with all their attendant evils; and not unfrequently lays the foundation both of acute and of chronic disorders : the mental powers are impaired ; and lingering death only terminates the sufferings of the debauchee. - Hence, we seriously advise parents, to beware of giving wine to their children indiscriminately; because, to them, it can be of service only when taken as a medicine : and those injudicious persons, who encourage young people to take wine habitually at their meals, are guilty of an abuse, which cannot be easily repaired, by future abstinence. WINNOW, or more properly,