Wine has good points
The letter by June Russell published September 23 ["Alcohol– even wine– harms"] raises some valid issues.
It's true that alcoholic beverages hold in them both good and bad, and we have found out as a society (I hope!) that we need to approach alcohol consumption with caution.
It would be wrong to take the recent flurry of mainly positive scientific studies on this topic as a wholesale endorsement of wine consumption for everybody. And, as with almost anything we put into our bodies, we should use moderation and discretion.
Wine consumption at a low to medium level will be right for some people and unwise for others.
At this point, my affiliations: I'm a regular wine-drinker, and work in the wine industry. In my spare time, I help take care of the volunteer-edited Open Directory project, http://dmoz.org/. One of the categories in which I edit is http://dmoz.org/Health/Specific_Substances/Alcoholic_Beverages/Benefits/, which collects links to sites that describe and report on beneficial effects of alcoholic beverage consumption (mostly these are scientific studies).
Whenever I find a site that fits into the opposing /Detriments/ category, I'll list it there.
It's in the best interest of the consumer, I think, to have all the relevant information available, without hidden bias or distortion, so that people can make an informed decision.
This is where my concern about June Russell's letter and her writings elsewhere comes in. She says that she's concerned about balancing the media's reporting on alcohol and health-related issues.
But is that best done by completely focusing on the negative side and vilifying alcohol and wine consumption? After reading her point of view, you'd think that there wasn't one good aspect about anyone picking up a glass of wine and enjoying it.
Even if you look at all the relevant studies with a jaundiced eye, you'll conclude that this is not the case.
I strongly disagree with distorting or misrepresenting scientific research in order to sell products, like wine. I'm also leery of people who claim to hold a balanced point of view, while only representing one side of it.
British Columbia, Canada