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Oenophobia: Fearsome phobias from A to Z

Wine has been enjoyed by humans for as long as historians may remember. Martin Luther (1483-1546), credited with initiating the Protestant Reformation, said this about it: “Beer is made by men, wine by God.”

Not everyone agrees.


Oenophobia is the fear of wine.

This particular phobia points to a fear or intense dislike of wine, the fruit of the vine. The word “oenophobia” is derived from the ancient Greek word “oinos,” which pertains to wine. This aversion may pertain to drinking wine or even adding it to recipes.

“I cook with wine,” said the American comedian and actor W.C. Fields (1880-1946). “Sometimes I even add it to the food.” Clearly, Fields was not oenophobic.

Folks with oenophobia will likely decline Cabernet, pass on Pinot or Port, shrink from Chablis or Chardonnay, recoil from Riesling, sneer at Sauvignon Blanc, and zoom from Zinfandel. They may be leery of becoming inebriated. Perhaps they have certain dietary sensitivities (or migraine headaches), which may be triggered by indulging in wine. They may be recovering from alcoholism and abstaining completely as a result. Or they could be strict teetotalers, opposed to all forms of alcohol.

Simply put, these people will probably jeer, not cheer, at wine. That’s oenophobia.

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