This verse offers some seemingly unusual advice: "Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly" (NKJV). The "old" King James version puts it this way: "Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright." What does this mean?
The terms "red" and "moveth itself" refer to wine when it is in the process of fermentation. This is the period before the wine is fully fermented. If during this time a person "looks on it," so as to finally drink it, he may become sick and possibly even die. In fact, instances are recorded of winery workers becoming asphyxiated by merely leaning over the wine vats to "look on" the fermenting wine, and being overcome by the poisonous gases, falling into the vats and drowning.
"What a great way to die!" we might joke, but not so long ago, just such an accident happened at a winery in Canada. Here is an excerpt from a recent fatal accident alert in the Workmen's Compensation Board of British Columbia's Health and Safety Centre:
The owner of a winery collapsed while taking a sample from a wine fermentation tank. A second person entered the tank in an attempt to rescue him, and he also collapsed. They could not be revived.
Both men died because they looked upon the wine when it was red! So we see, once again, that God's advice was not just for the people of previous millennia. It is, in fact, right up to date.
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