There are some other striking figures which are well worth referring to. The city of Paris alone requires nearly 300,000 gallons of wine daily. Now, the total yearly wine production of the whole of Australia is but a little over three million gallons. It will follow from the preceding, then, that the single city of Paris itself would consume in 12 days all the wine which the whole of Australia takes 12 MONTHS to make.
The future prosperity of Australia, at least to a very great extent, is wrapped up in her wine industry; for its development means much more than a large export trade to other countries. It means, in fact, the use of Australian wine as a national and every-day wholesome beverage; it means the covering of the land with smiling vineyards; it means employment and a healthy calling literally to thousands upon thousands; and, lastly, it means settlement upon the land, and a more diffused distribution of the population throughout Australia.
It must be remembered that the nervous system is far more susceptible to the effects of alcohol in a warm than in a cooler climate. It is said that in Southern Europe there are very few water drinkers, but that, on the other hand, there are very few who indulge in strong drink. The system does not feel to want the strong alcohol, so to speak. A weaker wine in a warm climate produces the same feeling of exhilaration that one of greater alcoholic strength does in colder countries. We shall not go far wrong in Australia if we stick to our own natural wines. As it will be found in the chapter on Australian wine, the every-day wine for Australian use is a wine of low alcoholic strength; a wine of which a tumblerful may be taken with benefit; a wine, indeed, which is beneficial, cheering, hygienic, restorative, and wholesome.
By reason of his semi-tropical climate the Australian is bathed in an atmosphere of sunshine. This has a distinct effect upon the blood, for the action of sunlight upon this fluid is to redden it--a fact which has for ages been dwelt upon by the poets. But for a scientific explanation of this effect of sunlight in reddening the blood we must turn to the spectrum analysis. The visible solar spectrum as shown through a prism by the ordinary sunbeam is made up of the seven different colours, namely, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Instead of consisting simply of white light as a whole, it is now universally accepted that in this spectrum different properties belong to different parts. Light or luminous power to one portion; heat or calorific power to another; and chemical power or actinism to a third.
The visible solar or Newtonian luminous spectrum, resulting from the decomposition of white light by a prism, is only the middle portion of the whole solar spectrum. Beyond the red end there are rays possessing still greater-heating effect; and beyond the violet extremity there are rays endowed with far more powerful chemical action. The violet, and especially these latter ultra-violet rays, redden the life stream by increasing the haemoglobin--that crystallizable body which forms so large a portion of the coloured corpuscles of the blood. Sunlight, moreover, has not only this action upon the animal kingdom, but also upon the vegetable world as well Plants, like celery, which are subjected to blanching, become whitened under the process of etiolation. This is due to the absence of chlorophyll, the green colouring matter of plants, which can only be developed by the presence of light. The tops of celery, being unearthed, retain their green colour, while the stem embedded in the soil acquires its familiar whiteness.
Many philosophical writers, notably David Hume and Charles Comte, C. Montesquieu in his L'Esprit des Lois, and Henry Thomas Buckle in his HISTORY OF CIVILISATION IN ENGLAND, have dilated upon the influence which climate exerts over race, and all their forceful opinions are to the effect that the character of a people is moulded by climatic conditions. More than this, the same new was entertained by the classic writers; for we find the philosopher and orator Cicero recording his belief that "Athens has a light atmosphere, whence the Athenians are thought to be more keenly intelligent; Thebes a dense one, and the Thebans fat-witted accordingly." Again, Horace, the poet and satirist, has given us the famous passage:--" You would swear he (Alexander the Great) was born in the dense atmosphere of the Boeotians."
But the influence of climate is not confined to ordinary conditions alone, because without the shadow of a doubt it controls disease as well.