Wine Estates (ETW building)
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A wine estate represents a substantial investment in vines, land and time. Wine is lovingly produced, carefully aged, and sold on at a premium.
The entire process is still subject to the vagaries of weather, soil and time. It is quite possible for an estate to produce a truly great wine one year and a foul one the next because, while standards are improving, there are still a great many variables that are only dimly understood.
In some parts of the world, a great wine estate is a prestigious possession, over and above its economic value.
And the value could be great indeed: the 18th Century was a time of prodigious boozing in Europe. Georgian Englishmen, for example, apparently had bottomless gullets even by contemporary standards, as the available water was not always fit to drink. Contrary to the popular belief of the time, excessive drinking was not the cause of gout (an agonising inflammation of the joints) only a contributory factor. Gout is triggered by a high-protein diet (as favoured by the wealthier classes of the period), and the liberal use of toxic lead compounds to sweeten wine probably did little to help matters!