A Twist on Blood and Wine

Today, I present an interesting twist regarding an old tonic and a completely unrelated new red wine that hit the market a few months ago.

The 1903 “Blood Wine” Tonic

More than a century ago, a drink called “Blood Wine” was sold in the United States, and it was boldly advertised as a “medicine” and “cure” for numerous diseases and ailments.  Despite its name it was actually a non-alcoholic tonic.

The various ads for Blood Wine made sweeping claims about the tonic’s health benefits.

For example, the Friday, March 20, 1903 edition of the Evening Star, an old Washington, DC newspaper, featured an advertisement touting the health benefits of the drink and offered “a trial bottle for one week without cost.”

The advertisement stated:

If you have rheumatism or kidney disease, or bad blood, week nerves, dyspepsia, eczema, piles, catarrh, weak lungs, have sleepless nights, failing appetite, or loss of flesh—you ought to start taking ‘Blood Wine’ right now. It cures all these diseases and dozens of lesser ills because it works on the blood.

In an October 14, 1903 piece with the headline “’Blood Wine’ Cured Them,” the tonic was said to have cured people who suffered from kidney disease and other ailments.

Other advertisements claimed Blood Wine was used by key people, including actors, officers, and an Ex-Senator, and some stories claimed the drink saved people who were near death.

For example, a story in the May 1, 1903 edition of The Minneapolis Journal claimed that Blood Wine saved a business person who suffered from ‘a severe attack of congestion of the liver.’   The heading read, “Snatched him from Grave: Miraculous Cure of a Prominent Business Man by Blood Wine, America’s Great Medicine,” and the story contained testimonials from other users of Blood Wine, including a man who said he ‘was crippled with rheumatism,’ but that he was ‘entirely cured” after taking two bottles of Blood Wine.

By today’s standards, the ads for the Blood Wine tonic seem very far-fetched.

Star Trek’s Unrelated “Bloodwine”

Fast forward a hundred plus years, and die-hard Star Trek fans, known as “Trekkies,” may recall that the fictional alien Klingon race consumes a beverage called “Bloodwine,”spelled, of course, without a space.

That fictional Bloodwine drink is the inspiration behind a new red wine known as Klingon Bloodwine.

On November 28, 2014, StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website, stated that “Votto Vines, the company behind the popular Juan Ortiz Star Trek wine collection, has just unveiled the latest addition to its Trek line of wines… Klingon Bloodwine.”

The red wine contains 13 percent alcohol and it is available online. According to Time.com, “Bloodwine has the CBS stamp of approval, so it’s an official Trek product.”

The bottle is quite attractive. It has an all-black design with the exception of a red star-like symbol on the label, which actually represents a Klingon weapon.  Even people unfamiliar with the Star Trek association might be lured by the mysterious look of the bottle.

Furthermore, the addition of the Klingon phrase on the back of the bottle is brilliant: “Celebrate! Tomorrow we may die!” It’s a compelling phrase that, to me, is a reminder that we should live vigorously in spite of the proximity of death.

I have yet to taste Klingon Bloodwine, but I’d really like to try it based on its coolness—and its slogan.

When I get a chance to drink Klingon Bloodwine, not only will I celebrate because I don’t know what tomorrow brings—I will also celebrate because of how far we have come since the days of that 1903 tonic.

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Steven Rangel is a professional who currently resides in the Washington, DC area with his wife. In his spare time, he likes to blog about culture, nature, art, science, fitness, and technology.
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