Nov 22nd – 28th


Wine & Your Health

So is wine really good or bad for you?

Well in a way that’s the ‘million dollar’ question! And no we’re not seeking to make any clear claims, we’ll leave that to the proper medical authorities, what National Wine Week is doing is to present, as with the rest of the information contained within this website, the basic facts and then to allow wine consumers to make their own individual informed choices based on their specific circumstances and health.

Effects on Health

There are as many studies which promote the health benefits of wine consumption as there are those that robustly advise against it!

Bad Effects

• Acne. Alcohol may be a trigger for certain acne conditions and red wine has been implicated.

• Breast-feeding. Alcohol is considered toxic to a baby’s developing brain and mothers are advised not to drink during the first two years of breast feeding.

• Cancer. Heavy drinking, usually more than 30 units per week has been linked to various forms of cancer.

• Depression. Although alcohol may be used as a means of dealing with anxiety, it can also have a depressant effect after 3 or more units.

• Infertility. Women drinking less than 5 units per week are twice as likely to conceive within 6 months as women drinking twice that amount.

• Pregnancy. Drinking too much during pregnancy can damage the foetus. One glass of wine a week is allowed.

• Sex. Heavy drinking can affect sexual performance.

• Weight. Wine is rich in calories and boosts the appetite. These calories have no beneficial nutrients and may lead to weight gain.

Good Effects

• Arteries. Drinking 1-2 glasses of wine a day can reduce the risk of blocked arteries and increased cholesterol.

• Brain. Wine may improve brain function in older women, as researchers have found women over 50 who drank 2 glasses or wine a day were more likely to have a raised IQ.

• Dementia. A glass of red wine a day might help protect against neurodegenerative diseases as a compound in grapes called resveratol helps stimulate enzymes in the brain involved with nerve regeneration.

• Eyesight. Moderate drinking of wine has been linked to a lower risk of age-related degeneration of the retina.

• Food poisoning. A glass or two of wine with a meal kills the bacteria responsible for most illnesses caused by food.

• Heart Attack. Those who drink up to 30 units of wine per week are less likely to die of a heart attack and indeed 2 glasses for men and 1 for women may actually improve the chances of surviving a heart attack.

• Infections. Wine, unlike some other forms of alcohol does not suppress the immune system so cells fighting off infections

• Jogging. Runners who drink up to two glasses of wine a day have raised levels of good cholesterol.

Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, prescribed wine for a variety of ailments include lethargy and diarrhea.

Just what are the facts?


Wine is one of mankind’s oldest beverages and has been used medicinally since Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman times and continued to play a major role in medicine until the late 19th/early 20th century. However from the early to mid 20th century health authorities began to highlight the risk of alcohol consumption and its possible role in a variety of ailments.

The French Paradox

Public interest in wine was heightened in the early ‘90’s when medical studies seemed to indicate that French people who traditionally had a high fat/high dairy diet also had a lower incidence of heart disease, conversely British and American diets which also contained the same high levels of fat and dairy, had a much greater incidence of heart disease. This difference was in part attributed to the higher consumption of wine, at the time, especially Red in France versus the UK and USA.

ABV & how to read a wine label!

One unit is 10 ml of pure alcohol – the amount of alcohol the average adult can process within an hour. This means that if the average adult drinks a drink with one unit of alcohol in it, within an hour there should in theory be no alcohol left in their bloodstream, but that length of time could differ depending on a person’s body size.

The alcohol content in drinks is also expressed as a percentage of the whole drink. If you take a look at the label of a bottle of wine or a can of lager you will see either a percentage, followed by the abbreviation “ABV” which stands for ‘alcohol by volume’, or sometimes just the word “vol”. So, wine that says “13 ABV” on its label contains 13% pure alcohol.

In terms of wine this means that a 175 ml glass of wine equals 2.3 units and a 250 ml glass equals 3.3 units.

Moderation is the key!

Official government guidelines suggest that men should not regularly drink more than the daily unit guidelines of 3–4 units, or 4 × 25ml shots of whiskey

1.7 × 175ml glasses of wine.

The government also advises that women should not regularly drink more than the daily unit guidelines of 2–3 units, or 3 × 25ml shots of whiskey

1.3 × 175ml glasses of white wine.

But as in all things the key is to be sensible and only consume wine in moderation and within the recommended guidelines for more information check out the advice given on


National Wine Week is not making any health or medical claims regarding the consumption of wine, or indeed any alcoholic drink. National Wine Week strictly adheres to the guidance given by  for the consumption of alcohol; if in any doubt please contact your GP or appropriate medical practioner for advice.