We’re on the edge of our favorite time of year. Harvest time in Spain brings fresh Moscato grapes to our tables, Mosto in our glasses, and some unexpected guests who tag along for the ride.
Wasp venom in wine and grape juice appears to have caused several cases of severe allergic reactions in people, according to a group of Spanish doctors…Alicia Armentia at the Rio Hortega Hospital in Valladolid, Spain, and her colleagues treated five people who had developed severe allergic reactions after drinking either wine or grape juice. Three of the patients had facial flushing and swollen lips, while another experienced asthma-like symptoms. The fifth patient developed anaphylaxis, a whole-body allergic reaction that can cause death as a result of constricted airways….”It’s likely the insects fell into the grape juice when the grapes were pressed,” says Armentia…Armentia suspects the aged wines did not produce an allergic reaction in the blood tests because any venom proteins they might have contained would have degraded as the wine matured. Even a few weeks’ ageing probably breaks down the venom enough that the risk of a dangerous allergic reaction is minuscule-but if they want to be on the safe side, people with bee and wasp allergies may want to avoid drinking freshly made wine, she adds.
Journal reference: New England Journal of Medicine (vol 357, p 719)
To be honest, we’ve never heard about bees taking little siestas in our grape juice, nor did we know that our friends who are highly allergic to bees should take caution; yet, like everything in life, one should never toss the baby out with the bathwater (or the bee out with the mosto) and assume that this ideal summer drink is off limits. As long as you’re bee-friendly, drink away! Served slightly chilled or over ice, this sweet delicious treat is refreshing and wonderful this time of year. If you see a bottle of mosto in your area, buy it, pour a nice tall glass, and sit outside in a comfortable chair so as to savor the few remaining weeks of summer.
Gabriella and Ryan