Quote Originally Posted by Erloas View Post
How effective alcohol, like other types of disinfectants, are at killing things depends on concentration and time. Something with 70% alcohol will kill things much faster than 5%, but if you've got it sitting for months at a time it is going to kill anything that can't survive the alcohol eventually. Not everything is equally resistant to alcohol either, which is why many different types of microbes are used to create different alcohols and generally the strength of the alcohol is determined by the point at which the alcohol content kills of the bacteria that make it.
Greek wine is generally shown being mixed with water directly before the banquet starts. However, I can't tell with certainty if this is just a way to amplify the depiction of the feasting, and it's also generally done by rich people or for very large gatherings; so I don't know how long a humble labourer would have needed to finish his wine mixed with water. I also don't know how well it would have kept if mixed with water and left there for a week or two.

BTW, I earlier said that Ulysses's companions drank pure wine, but it's actually a mistake. The translation I was reading added a word that means "pure" or, less literally, "good", which isn't in the original text. Interestingly enough, Homer there uses a word for wine (methu) that is related to mead.