Top 10 Wine Quotes

As one of languages great looseners, it should come as no surprise that there is no shortage of wise wine words in our world.  From the Greeks to the Romans, religious leaders to writing greats, leading pioneers to, ahem, Basil Fawlty; it appears that most of the worlds greatest thinkers & creators just so happened to like doing so with a glass of wine in their hand (Mr Fawlty perhaps came a cropper in not drinking enough of the stuff).

Herewith a round-up of the Top 10, which could easily have been a Top 20+..


“Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever”

Aristophanes (c. 446BC – c.386BC)

A great Greek wit, also known a the ‘Father of Comedy’, Aristophanes was pretty good at saying clever things. And now we have an authentic testimonial as to what provided his cerebral inspiration.


“In wine there is truth. (in vino veritas)”

Pliny the Elder (AD 23 – AD 79)

One of the most famous wine quotes & with good cause; Pliny the Elder, like any good straight-roaded Roman, has left a legacy that works in most languages & is ever used by other authors, merchants & even growers themselves.


“Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried & with fewer tensions and more tolerance.”

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

If it’s good enough for a man who is considered one of the founding fathers of the American state & could list inventor, diplomat, author, political theorist & printer among his many achievements/roles, then it’ll do for us. And that’s one busy mind to calm.


“Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.”

Louis Pasteur (1822 – 1895)

French chemist & microbiologist Pasteur’s progressions in the prevention of disease & infection has saved & continues to save lives all over the world. High falooting praise indeed.


“In victory, you deserve champagne. In defeat you need it.”

Napolean Bonaparte (1769-1821)

Luckily Napoleon’s feuds generally left him deserving of his tipple of choice, but it’s good to think that he had a good 6 years of quaffing to toast off his final defeat in 1815.


“God made only water, but man made wine.”
(“Dieu n’avait fait que l’eau, mais l’homme a fait le vin”)

Victor Hugo (1802 – 1855)

Wise words from a man many considered God’s gift to French literature, or the West-End at least. Unfortunately the Euro curtailed his permanent deification when it ousted the Franc (on a 500 note, no less).


“Be careful to trust a man who does not like wine.”

Karl Marx (1818 – 1883)

As one of the most influential thinkers in the history of humankind, not to mention sporter of one of the best beards, Marx clouts in with a not insubstantial amount of trustability.


“Men are like wine – some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age.”

Pope John XXIII (1881 – 1963)

Given his ripe old age of election, one might assume Pope John XXIII knew a thing or two about how men should age. How much he knew about wine only those lucky enough to receive communion from him will know, although one suspects he was very wise about both.


“Language is wine upon the lips.”

Virginia Woolf (1882 – 1941)

If Woolf’s wine was poured with as much lyrical abandon as her words, she was a very lucky lady indeed. Perhaps we should all take a leaf out of her book; or indeed sip out of the glass.


“I can certainly see you know your wine. Most of the guests who stay here wouldn’t know the different between Bordeaux & Claret.”

Basil Fawlty (ran 1975 – 1979)

John Cleese’s iconic Basil Fawlty trumps in with a faux-pas, yet again, as he tries his best & fails to charm the very class he loves to hate in the ramshackle & ever-choatic Fawlty Towers. We suspect Manuel was dispatched to do some hefty head-scratching in the cellar once the order was taken.


So there we have it, & with ample in reserve, but somehow it feels apt to let Basil Fawlty wallow a little longer.   Here’s to opening a bottle & stumbling across great ravines of our minds as yet undiscovered!



The Author

Helen Richards

Hely's love of wine was born from a young age, spending summers exploring the vineyards of France. After studying Modern Languages at Oxford, she worked in publishing and branding before joining the JF Tobias team to help build our blog / written content. She loves wine, writing, yoga and adventure in equal measure and strives to balance all four, although not necessarily all at the same time!