There are a few books when some alcohol beverage is offered to Tintin and he replies "thanks, but I never touch alcohol"
Are there actually any instances of him saying that, though? That's certainly a common perception about Tintin, but in the books it's specifically spirits
he declines, telling the Lieutenant in The Crab with the Golden Claws
that he doesn't drink spirits, and declining Captain Chester's offer of whisky in The Shooting Star
. It's true that in that latter instance he requests a tonic water from Chester instead, rather than requesting a beer or a glass of wine, but I think that's necessary plotwise in order to set up the subsequent comedic sequence with Haddock's tonic water with a "thimbleful" of whisky, rather than being an indicator that Tintin has
to have a completely non-alcoholic option.
Whereas, on inspection, there are actually quite a few instances in the books where Tintin is seen accepting or even ordering wine in order to enjoy consuming it.
In King Ottokars Sceptre
, he orders a glass of szprodj (clearly a red wine from the way it's drawn and coloured) to have with his meal in the Syldavian restaurant, and it's clear from the difference in wine glass level between the first and last pictures of the bottom line of page 5 that he's drunk some of it while eating.
In The Shooting Star
the picture on page 24 where only Tintin and Haddock remain at the dinner table, unaffected by seasickness, shows that Tintin is having a glass of wine along with Haddock (and everyone else before they had to retire to their bunks). And here I must correct my earlier assertion from a few posts back that Tintin tends to steer Haddock away from all
alcohol in the early Haddock books. This scene shows that I was completely wrong about that!
In Land of Black Gold
, Tintin accepts a glass of rosé wine from Oliviera on page 40, and I don't think this is only out of politeness. He's holding the glass as if to drink it at the point where Snowy finds the rat trap in the cupboard.
And in The Red Sea Sharks
Tintin has a glass of wine at his place setting along with Haddock and Skut as they eat their post-rescue meal on Rastapopulos's yacht on page 40. I suppose he may simply have allowed the waiter to pour it out of politeness, but to me it looks like part of the general pattern that Tintin finds it quite natural to have a glass of wine with his dinner.
For a Belgian of Tintin and Hergé's era (and quite possibly for your average Belgian today), I think having a glass of wine with meals, or in moderation with friends, would be completely normal and moral - culturally the done thing and biblically recommended, and completely distinct from the dangers and evils of over-indulgence of spirits.
So, to return to the question of this thread, I think it would be reasonably consistent for the movie version of Tintin to have bottle of wine in his flat simply for his own personal consumption on a one-glass-per-evening-with-main-meal basis. (Not that this rules out
the guest possibility, of course.)
would a Belgian social-drinker have kept a bottle of wine in the ’fridge in the forties or fifties?
You could use a refrigerator to chill wine from room temperature to 14°C, but it takes about three hours - and you obviously wouldn’t just leave it in there.
The evidence would seem to suggest that Tintin must have had a guest coming…
I think those are good points, but I think this might just be an instance of the modern American/New Zealand filmmakers unthinkingly giving modern fridge-use habits to a 1940s Belgian, rather than being a case of the filmmakers intentionally trying to imply to sharp-eyed viewers that Tintin was expecting a wine-drinking guest to arrive within the next three hours of the scene!
Also, if Tintin was drinking the wine by himself at a one-glass-per-evening rate he'd probably have
to keep the opened and re-corked bottle in the fridge so that the wine stayed fresh all week, even if that meant compromising its ideal drinking temperature. (And actually, I think white wine tastes all right to most people at fridge temperature. Most people who drink white wine at that sort of rate with meals do
keep a half-finished bottle in the fridge door pretty much permanently, don't they?)
red wine shouldn’t be served chilled at all
Yes, if the filmmakers have showed Tintin keeping a bottle of red
wine in the fridge, Hergé will be spinning in his grave! (I believe there are a few reds that are specifically made to be drunk chilled, but I think this is a much more modern development.)