Monday, September 3, 2012

Sanatogen Story

Late Sunday afternoon, in the Hardy Lane Co-op for some bits and bats shopping and spotted some Sanatogen wine. It had two faces (that's rows of bottles to you but in grocery school they are called faces 'cos they face the customer. Almost certain these are a new addition, albeit it might be a temporary one.

Tonic wines still enjoy some popularity. Buckfast is the most popular these days but mostly bought by those who want a cheap alcohol and caffeine hit. Wincarnis rarely seen in shops, is still available, and is one from the 19th Century. Originally back in 1881 it had meat extracts in it hence the name literally Wine-Carnis (from Latin for meat).

The display advert is from 1939, which makes it over 70 years old. Not the 50 years old as quoted all over the web. However Sanatogen as a powder in a bottle has been on sale since at least 1904. Sold by chemists a nerve tonic and pick-me-up. The active ingredient is Sodium Glycerophosphate - which in small quantities is reported to have health benefits. Mixing it with fortified British Wine (not English Wine) came later. British Wine is made from imported grape must, or grape juice concentrate and fermented here. It attracted less tax that imported wines from wine producing countries. It was thus cheaper, and its taste appealed to a British palate that liked heavy sweet sherries, ports and ginger wine - QC Cream, Enva Cream Sherry (actually the queen of Cyprus Sherry), and VP Cream are some examples.

Anyway passed on the 15% strength Sanatogen for the time being, and went for the Sainte Martha, a very quaffable Languedoc. A French red is more to my taste and the past purchases haven't failed to please.

No comments:

You can email : coop AT with any information that will help in the making of this history.