After hearing about Leo Varadkar coming out on the radio yesterday (I think we all knew didn't we?....good-looking man, no sign of a girlfriend etc etc...) I had a look on his twitterfeed to see he was proudly proclaiming that he is "on the dry" for January as part of the campaign by the Irish Heart Foundation.
I know they mean well and I believe the Irish Heart Foundation do great work (I have a family history that makes me think I might need their support at some stage). I also know that Minister Varadkar has to come out and support these initiatives, but I think it misses the point on a few fronts.
Firstly, what we should all aspire to is a sensible and healthy approach to alcohol in our society. Binging at Christmas and fasting in January is neither healthy nor sensible - it is the alcohol equivalent of yo-yo dieting. It will do nothing except reinforce bad habits. Whatever happened to moderation?
Secondly, giving up wine at any time of year is clearly a bad idea as the health benefits of wine consumption in moderation are well documented at this stage, but January is a particularly bad month to try and give up. It is a month when you need warmth and comfort - big casseroles and a glass of red by the fire. It is too cold and miserable to even contemplate water with your dinner.
Lastly, January is grim enough for us wine merchants with those ridiculous new years resolutions without having some officially sanctioned campaign to give it up altogether! Drink less, but drink better - that's what I say - all year round!
Now, where did I put my runners.....