Spirits Of Wine Preservative
The term spirits of wine refers to strong brandy, i.e. strong ethanol of about 80% or more, as it is produced from a distillery. The actual ethanol concentration depends on how many times it has been distilled, but 80% ethanol is not unusual. During the 1800s and earlier this was readily available. It was one of the first means to preserve gross specimens and to fix tissues for microscopic examination. Today, of course, the use of brandy would be prohibitively expensive. It would be more reasonable to use 95% industrial ethanol or methylated spirits. Due to the distortion that ethanol causes during long term storage, there is no reason to use it.