Just when Maker's Mark decided to stop putting water in the bourbon and let us all resume dissipation as usual, we found out that alcohol increases cancer risk. A study released by the American Journal of Public Health found that 3.5 percent of cancer deaths in the United States each year are attributable to alcohol consumption. And boozing of any kind—be it wine, liquor, or beer—contributed to, yikes, 15 percent of all breast cancer deaths.
The even less good news is that you don't have to drink all that much to enter this depressing statistical territory. People who consumed more than three drinks daily faced the greatest risk, but even drinkers who averaged 1.5 drinks a day may account for as many as a third of alcohol-related cancer deaths, or about 6,000–7,000 people annually. Yes, yes, the study was big (surveying more than 220,000 people) and controlled for lifestyle factors like smoking, exercise, and diet. Also, red wine and heart benefits blah blah, talk to your doctor about your medical history, etc.
But let's get to the important bit: now we have a medical excuse to get vineyards to start selling decent wine in single-serving bottles. Sutter Home is not going to cut it! Neither, we suspect, will this Froglet stuff, which is sold in individual plastic wine glasses sealed with yogurt foil.
The economics of smaller wine bottles probably don't make sense for vineyards, and we have to admit that the extra glass required sucks from a sustainability (and price) standpoint. Also there's the image problem: what Chateneuf-du-Pape wants to be seen in packaging that might be deemed cutesy? It totally works for the superb Sofia sparkling wine that comes in the little pink cans, but then again, not everyone can be the beer of champagnes.
Sure, there are those leaky vacuum-pump systems for preserving open bottles, but they only tide you over a day, maybe two. Opening a bottle of nice wine in a household of one or two is still a big commitment: plan to splurge and spend the rest of the night making faces at the cat, or know that half your $20 bottle will be blessing all the benzo-addicted fish with an extra buzz. Let's not even discuss bag o’.
Decent vintners have begun to accept the futility of traditional corks, and there's the whole indignity of the ridiculous naming trend, from Goats do Roam down to Fat Bastard. So how about a little assist with the portion sizes? People who are still alive have lots of money to spend on fey little packages of artisanal wine. It would be nice to get something cute out of this bleakness, and a shiraz sure beats a pink teddy bear.