Wine & Health

Alcohol Consumption Advice

The UK government recommends that both men and women should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week. Pregnant women are advised not to drink alcohol. For more information on safe drinking guidelines, we recommend visiting the NHS and drinkaware websites.


A unit of alcohol is equivalent to 10 milliliters of pure ethanol (the active chemical ingredient in alcoholic beverages). The number of units of alcohol in a drink can be determined by multiplying the volume of the drink (in millilters) by its % ABV and dividing by 1000.

Thus a glass of wine (125ml) at 12.5% ABV equates to:

125 x 12.5


= 1.6 units


Alcohol consumed in moderation has been linked by certain studies in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. Alcohol consumption in conjuction with high intakes of fruit and vegetables may also explain the so-called 'French paradox'. the French diet is relatively high in saturated fat, yet the death rate from coronary heart disease remains relatively low. It is thought that this is partly due to compounds in red wine that counteract saturated fats.


Alcohol is a high source of energy, providing 7 calories per gram of alcohol. It is often referred to as a source of 'empty calories', meaning that it has no nutritive value other than providing energy. This isn't strictly true as some alcoholic drinks contain sugars and traces of vitamins and minerals, although not usually in amounts that make any significant contribution to the diet.

The energy provided by an alcoholic drink depends on the percentage of alcohol it contains. It is difficult to give the calorie (Kcal) content for an alcoholic drink in general, due to the variance in alcohol content, and this must be considered when looking at the following values.

Wines, small glass (125ml) Typical calorie (Kcal) content
Red wine 85
Rose wine, medium 89
Sweet white wine 118
Medium white wine 94
Sparkling white wine 95
Port 79
Sherry, dry 58
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