Book Series Bibliothèque d'histoire culturelle du Moyen Âge, vol. 14

The Physician, the Drinker, and the Drunk

Wine’s Uses and Abuses in Late Medieval Natural Philosophy

Azélina Jaboulet-Vercherre

  • Pages: 277 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2014

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-55279-8
  • Paperback
  • Available

Azélina Jaboulet-Vercherre’s book entitled The Physician, the Drinker, and the Drunk - Wine’s Uses and Abuses in Late Medieval Natural Philosophy has received the 2015 OIV award presented by the prestigious International Organistion of Vine and Wine in the category ‘Wine and Health’.

Le prix de l’OIV 2015 dans la catégorie ‘Vin et Santé’ de la prestigieuse Organisation Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin a été accordé à la publication d’Azélina Jaboulet-Vercherre intitulée The Physician, the Drinker, and the Drunk - Wine’s Uses and Abuses in Late Medieval Natural Philosophy.


"(…) l’ouvrage apporte à la culture médiévale une touche aussi informée que colorée." (Max Lejbowicz, dans: Cahiers de recherches médiévales et humanistes, 2014,

"Since Jaboulet-Vercherre has read her sources carefully, she has a wealth of material to pass along. The reader comes away from the book having gathered a host of interesting pieces of information." (Steven P. Marrone, in: Speculum, 90/4, 2015, p. 1121-1122)

"La obra recoge de manera concienzuda la importancia del vino no sólo como bebida y alimento, sino también como medicina, a la vez que plantea la visión que las autoridades médicas y eclesiásticas tuvieron de su consumo en la época medieval. Un libro del que tras su publicación puede hablarse de un antes y un después en el conocimiento del vino medieval." (Fernando Serrano Larráyoz, in: Dynamis 36 (1), 2016, p. 241-244)

(…) remains an informative account of the ways in which wine was understood by the medieval learned world.” (Michael McVaugh, in Isis, Vol. 107/1, March 2016 p. 157)



Azélina Jaboulet-Vercherre received her Ph. D. in History from Yale University in 2011, after a rich set of curricula in Art History (École du Louvre), History (Sorbonne; École Pratique des Hautes Études), Archaeology, and Literature (Sorbonne). She is now assistant professor at École Hôtelière de Lausanne, where she has created several “Wine History” courses for the Bachelor’s and EMBA programs.


Why is it so puzzling for people to decide whether to censure wine, or to celebrate it?

In this book, Azélina Jaboulet-Vercherre traces a history of wine drinking by mining historical sources for descriptions of wine's properties. Relying mainly on French and Italian natural philosophical sources, with a special focus on the late Middle Ages, Professor Jaboulet-Vercherre examines and illuminates the disparate – and often conflicting – opinions of writers on wine with respect to both the preservation and restoration of health and the quest for pleasure. She also explores their analyses of wine’s potentially dangerous impacts.

The 13th to 15th centuries were a time when medical experts had profound insights to offer on the subject of wine, opinions gained not from the experimental laboratory, but rather from the steady application of their cognitive skills.

This study bridges gaps in our understanding of the role of wine in late medieval civilization and, by extension, our own.