Before I begin to debunk this stereotype (which is ridiculous), I want it to be known that alcoholism is no laughing matter. It is an addiction which many individuals suffer from, with disastrous effects on one’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. It invades victims’ lives, as well as those closest to them, and does discriminate against gender, age, race, or nationality. That being said, not all individuals who drink alcohol are alcoholics, and not every single person in the world who does drink alcohol lives in Portugal. Therefore, all Portuguese people are not alcoholics. But to those of you who are not convinced, chew on this:
- Like in all countries, not every individual who lives in Portugal there drinks alcohol. This could be for many reasons such as: they dislike the taste or effects of alcohol, they are too young to drink it (legally), their religion does not permit them to drink it, they have stopped drinking it for health reasons, they are recovering alcoholics (not everyone can escape a stereotype), and many more. The main point, they do not ingest alcohol. They cannot be alcoholics.
- Also, like in all countries, not every individual who lives in Portugal drinks to get wasted. In Portuguese culture, alcohol (especially wine) is seen as a mechanism for celebrating the gathering of family and friends, with a grand toast. This means verbally stating how and why these individuals have enriched your life, and how you hope to continue to enrich theirs. Therefore, wine has a social component of enjoyment, not bodily destruction.
- By many, wine making is seen as an art form, and therefore should not be enjoyed in excess. This means, that wine (and other alcohols) is to be consumed in moderation, and as a complement to a meal, that matches the drink’s flavor. Therefore, it requires culinary mastery to properly be a wine connoisseur making gourmet wine tasting a sought after art, not manner of high ingestion. (this is the case in all major European wine exporting countries)
So to those of you who believe the Portuguese are all alcoholics, simply because they created Port wine, and have some of the most popular vineyards worldwide, consider yourselves now newly educated.
Vinho do Porto e do curacao (Port wine is from the heart)