wishful thinking

Let’s All Pretend Champagne Is Good for Us

Photo: Corbis

In case the arrival of red Starbucks cups didn’t tip you off, the holidays are just around the corner. And what better way to herald the many holiday parties and family dinners than by touting the health benefits of Champagne, as suggested by old and overblown scientific research?

A 2013 U.K. study inexplicably resurfaced on social media this weekend, leading to numerous gleeful headlines about Champagne being good for memory and protective for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Yet the study in question was not even an observational one, which would have looked at participants’ alcohol consumption over time and compared it with dementia diagnoses. No, it was conducted on rats. The researchers found that rodents given a rodent-size serving of Champagne daily for six weeks were ever-so-slightly better at finding a treat in a maze than rats given another alcoholic beverage or a drink with no booze. Seriously, that’s it.

We don’t know if these spatial memory findings would apply to humans, yet the 2013 news release said that drinking Champagne “may counteract the memory loss associated with aging, and could help delay the onset of degenerative brain disorders, such as dementia.” And now the internet has resurrected this study and stories like these abound:


It was a stretch in 2013 and it’s no more meaningful now. This holiday season, drink Champagne because you want to. We even found an efficient vessel for you.

Let’s All Pretend Champagne Is Good for Us