Grapevine: Refocusing on the Role of Water in Our Daily Lives

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Nick Antonaccio
Nick Antonaccio

When was the last time you stepped back from this hectic world and observed the wonder and beauty of our planet? When was the last time you untethered yourself from your electronic device and absorbed Nature in all its glory and power?

For myself, while on vacation this summer at the beach, after several days of de-stressing, I finally got in touch with Mother Earth. As my mind cleared, I was able to focus on the sheer awe of Nature that I take for granted every day. Then I began to consider the more practical elements of Nature rather than the ethereal aspects. Suddenly, for reasons I can’t rationalize, my ninth grade biology class lessons began streaming into my consciousness. What precipitated this as I sat there on the beach, scanning the vastness of the ocean and the mesmerizing ebb and flow of the tide?

With water as my focal point, I began to consider my biology teacher’s lessons on the omnipotence and omnipresence of water on our planet, and the delicate balance humans play in that vastness. As I pondered the macro and micro aspects of water’s dominance in our lives, my mind naturally (for me) came full circle to the glass of wine in my hand, celebrating another jaw-dropping sunset. Through the mental gymnastics going on in my finance-trained mind, the connection between the ocean before me and the liquid gold in my glass began to gel.

With those memories in mind, allow me to refresh your biology lessons to see if you also can appreciate the connection of everything on our planet to water – and your next glass of wine.

We all know the basics of water’s dominance. In the oceans, on land, in soil, in plants and in our bodies, water is at the very core of existence. We were taught that 71% of the earth’s surface is water. But do you remember that 96.5% of the earth’s total volume of water is undrinkable? Only 3.5% is fresh water, which must sustain the millions of fresh-water-dependent species that inhabit our planet, including its 7.3 billion humans.

How is it possible that humans can sustain themselves on such a seemingly meager proportion of fresh water? This fresh water is not readily available to us. Nearly 70% is in the form of polar ice caps and glaciers. The remainder, sourced primarily from rivers, lakes, aquifers and runoff, represents less than 1% of all the water on earth that is readily available for human consumption. Throw climate change and the three-year drought in California into the mix and it is easy to understand the concern over the long-term implications for future water supplies.

Let’s move from the global view to the perspective of water and the human body. Those biology lessons taught us that a typical adult body is composed of 60% water. To sustain this level of water, and optimal health, we rely on several sources. Certainly, the 1% of earth’s freshwater readily available to us is the major source.

But just as our physiology is comprised of a significant proportion of water, so too are other living organisms. The organisms that provide life-sustaining and vital nutrition.

Most plants and vegetables contain significant levels of water. A balanced diet will provide much of the recommended water intake we need to sustain a healthy body. A few examples: a cucumber is 96% water by weight; watermelon is 92%; steak is 74%; cheese is 40%; and bread is 35%.

And then there are water-based beverages that provide the water needed to sustain our bodies and our lives: coffee, tea, juices and wine.

There it is: wine. It is critical to sustaining the health of our bodies. Over 85% of a glass of wine is water.

Whew, that was a long way to connect the vastness of the ocean to a single glass of wine for a light-hearted discourse on the importance of water in our lives and bodies. But my memories of sunsets on the beach still linger, reinforcing the delicate balance for sustaining quality life on our fragile planet.

Nick Antonaccio is a 40-year Pleasantville resident. For over 20 years he has conducted numerous wine tastings and lectures. He also offers personalized wine tastings and wine travel services. Nick’s credo: continuous experimenting results in instinctive behavior. You can reach him at or on Twitter @sharingwine



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