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Thursday, February 18, 2010 03:03PM

Daily TWiP – National Drink Wine Day

Week in Preview

Welcome to Daily TWiP, your daily dose of all the holidays, historical observances, etc., we couldn’t cram into The Week in Preview.

Today on National Drink Wine Day, we celebrate the responsible consumption of this lovely libation and all the wonderful health benefits that accompany it.

There are six basic categories of wine from which you can choose to properly enjoy this holiday. We must admit we were surprised to discover these categories do not include “wine in a bottle” and “wine in a box.”

Three of the categories can generally be distinguished by their color: white, red, and rose (pronounced ro-ZAY and also known as blush or pink). For white wine, you may want to try Chardonnay or Riesling. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are popular red wines and White Zinfandel is an excellent rose.

The other three categories of wine are...not distinguished by their color. Sparkling wines (which include Champagne) contain carbon dioxide bubbles and dessert wines (our favorite category) are extremely sweet due to their high sugar content.

Last but not least are fortified wines, like port and sherry, which are made by mixing wine with a distilled beverage such as brandy. This was originally done to help preserve the wine to be taken on long voyages, but the practice has continued because a glass of the resulting wine is sweeter and more potent than a similar quantity of unfortified wine.

Obviously, there is a certain amount of overlap between these categories – a dessert wine, for example, may also be a white wine – but that’s the general breakdown.

In addition to pleasing both the eye and the palate, wine boasts numerous health benefits when consumed in moderation, which is defined as no more than two four-ounce glasses a day.

Red wine in particular can lower your risk of heart disease, and wine in general can increase your longevity, reduce your risk of heart attack if you have high blood pressure, and lower your risks of Type 2 diabetes, blood clot-related stroke, cataracts, and colon cancer.

Moderate quantities of wine can even help to slow the decline of brain function. We can see crossword puzzles and Bridge falling out of vogue now that there’s a tastier way to keep your mind sharp.

Now that you’re all excited to celebrate National Drink Wine Day, we’d like to leave you with one final bit of advice: This holiday is similar to Read in the Bathtub Day in that it’s best celebrated after you’ve left work.

Daily TWiP appears Monday through Friday courtesy of The Week in Preview. Check out The Week in Preview online in our Columnists section or read it in print on Mondays in our Nashua and Region section.

Keep track of Daily TWiP, The Week in Preview, Tete-a-tete, and Teresa’s general ramblings at http://twitter.com/TeresaInPreview.

– Teresa Santoski