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Updated on August 21, 2023
6 min read

How Many Glasses of Wine Will Get You Drunk?

Unless you weigh 250 lbs or more, two glasses of wine in an hour will make you legally drunk. The standard serving of wine is five ounces, which contains approximately 12 percent alcohol.1

However, not all glasses are equal because there are many different types of wine. 

Alcohol Content in Wine

If you prefer wine with higher alcohol by volume (ABV), your single serving should be smaller. On the other hand, if you are drinking wine that is relatively low in alcohol, a more generous glass would equal one serving.

Here are some common types of wine and their ABV:

Type of WineABV
Moscato d’Asti5.5%
Brachetto d’Acqui 6.5%
Kabinett Riesling8%
Italian prosecco12%
Rosé12%
Riesling12%
Barbera12.5%
Sauvignon blanc12.5%
Shiraz~15.5%
Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre15.5%
Marsala20%
Aromatized Wine (Vermouth)20%
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Factors That Affect Your Alcohol Tolerance

The average person can drink two glasses of wine within an hour before they are considered legally drunk. 

However, the following factors influence alcohol tolerance:9,10

  • Body mass index: A higher BMI can reduce alcohol tolerance. Those with a higher percentage of body fat will absorb alcohol slower
  • Gender: Women generally have a lower alcohol tolerance than men due to lower dehydrogenase levels
  • Age: As we age, our bodies have a more challenging time processing alcohol. Older people may get drunk faster
  • Metabolism: People with slower metabolisms will take longer to process alcohol. This results in a higher blood-alcohol content and increased intoxication
  • ABV of the wine: Wine ranges in alcohol content. A higher ABV means more alcohol per glass, leading to faster intoxication

How Does the Body Metabolize Wine?

Once drunk, the wine enters the stomach and small intestine, where small blood vessels transport it to the bloodstream. The liver metabolizes alcohol, which is where enzymes break down the substance.

The stomach absorbs approximately 20 percent of alcohol, while the small intestine absorbs most of the remaining 80 percent.2 Understanding the rate of metabolism is essential to understanding the effects of alcohol.

Generally, the liver can process one ounce of liquor, or one standard drink, in one hour. If you consume more alcohol than this, your body system becomes saturated.

The extra alcohol will accumulate in the blood and tissues until your body can metabolize it. This effect is why binge drinking can lead to high blood alcohol concentrations that linger for hours.

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What is Considered Moderate Wine Consumption?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines moderate drinking as consuming:3

  • Two alcoholic drinks a day or 14 alcoholic beverages a week for men
  • One alcoholic drink a day or seven alcoholic beverages a week for women

It helps to know how much alcohol each beverage has if you want to moderate alcohol consumption over an evening or a week.

The NIAAA defines one drink as:1

  • 12 fluid ounces (fl oz) of regular beer at around five percent alcohol 
  • Between eight and nine fl oz of malt liquor at around seven percent alcohol 
  • Five fl oz of table wine at around 12 percent alcohol 
  • 1.5 fl oz of distilled spirits, including gin, rum, whiskey, tequila, or vodka 

One standard drink in the United States contains around 14 grams of pure alcohol.

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How to Cut Back on Wine Consumption

Here are some tips on how to cut back on wine consumption:4

  • Try to make a plan before you start drinking: Set a limit on how much you are going to drink
  • Set a budget: Only bring a fixed amount of money to spend on alcohol 
  • Inform your family and friends: Let them know you’re cutting down on alcohol and that it’s important to you. You may receive support from them
  • Take it a day at a time: If you’re struggling, cut back a little on alcohol each day. That way, every day you reduce consumption is a success
  • Consider switching to smaller drink sizes: Buy bottled beer instead of pints or a small glass of wine instead of a big one
  • Opt for lower-strength drinks: Swap intense wines for lower-strength ABV percentage options. You can easily find this information on the bottle
  • Stay hydrated: Drink a glass of water before drinking alcohol and switch alcoholic drinks with water or other non-alcoholic beverages
  • Be sure to take breaks: Have several drink-free days weekly

Why is it Essential to Know Your Alcohol Limit?

It is essential to know your limit because drinking too much alcohol can lead to long-term effects on health. It can lead to:

  • Gout
  • High blood pressure
  • Nerve damage
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Chronic disease of the heart muscle, recognized as cardiomyopathy 

You must set limits for yourself when drinking and keep an eye on how many alcoholic beverages you have. It is also vital not to binge drink.

The more you drink, the more challenging it is to stop drinking.

Do You Have a Drinking Problem? (Signs of Alcohol Misuse)

You could be misusing alcohol if:5

  • You think you should cut down on your drinking 
  • Other people have been criticizing or commenting on your drinking
  • You experience guilt about your drinking
  • You want a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover
  • You drink every day or drink alone often

Treatment Options for Alcohol Misuse & Addiction

Various treatment methods are available for alcohol misuse and addiction. This is thanks to significant improvements in the field over the past 60 years.6 

However, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment method. What works for one person may not be suitable for another. Understanding the different treatment options can be an essential first step.

Behavioral Treatments

Behavioral treatments are designed to change drinking behavior through counseling. Health professionals lead behavioral treatments. 

They help identify triggers and understand why people drink. Afterward, you’ll work with your counselor to devise strategies to deal with cravings.

Medications

Three medications are currently approved in the United States to help individuals stop or reduce drinking alcohol and prevent relapse. These medications help reduce the intensity of cravings and make it easier to abstain from alcohol.

A primary care physician or other health professional prescribes these medications. They may be used alone or in combination with counseling.

Mutual-Support Groups

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and similar 12-step programs offer peer support for people quitting or reducing their drinking. Combined with treatment from other health professionals, mutual support groups can provide a valuable added support layer.

As mutual-support groups are anonymous, it is challenging for researchers to determine their success compared to treatments led by health professionals.

Rehabilitation Programs

Inpatient and outpatient programs are the most effective means of alcohol addiction treatment. These programs offer supervision, counseling, and medication.

Inpatient programs involve staying in a hospital or treatment center for several weeks. Outpatient programs allow people to attend therapy sessions during the day and go home at night.

Summary

You can consume wine in moderation as part of a healthy lifestyle. However, drinking too much wine can have long-term health effects and lead to alcohol misuse and addiction.

Knowing your limits can help you enjoy wine without overindulging. If you think you may be misusing alcohol, various treatment options are available to help you stop or reduce drinking.

Updated on August 21, 2023
10 sources cited
Updated on August 21, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. What Is A Standard Drink?.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH).
  2. Alcohol and Your Body.” UC Santa Cruz, 2019.
  3. Drinking levels defined.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH).
  4. Tips on cutting down.” National Health Service, 2018.
  5. Alcohol misuse.” National Health Service, 2018
  6. Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH), 2021.
  7. Britton et al. “Underestimating the Alcohol Content of a Glass of Wine: The Implications for Estimates of Mortality Risk.” Alcohol and alcoholism (Oxford, Oxfordshire), 2016.
  8. Kerr WC and Stockwell T. “Understanding standard drinks and drinking guidelines.” Drug and alcohol review, 2012.
  9. “Absorption Rate Factors.” University of Notre Dame.
  10. "Alcohol and age: A risky combination." Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, 2018.
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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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