Wine Addiction: Drinking Red Alone Every Night Is A Bad Sign

Last Updated: June 16, 2020

Authored by Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Wine is often thought of as a classy drink, something to be tasted, sipped and enjoyed over dinner. But like other alcohols, too much can lead to a wine addiction and as many potential health consequences as any other drink.
Not everyone who drinks alcohol will develop an addiction, but drinking too much even without addiction can become problematic. There are some positive health benefits of wine, which is made solely from grapes and the natural yeast found on them, but there are also risks. One of these is an addiction, and that can lead to many more issues.

For some people, an occasional glass of wine can all too easily lead to a nightly glass to combat stress, and then more and more until a drinking problem is inevitable.

Negative Effects of Excessive Wine Consumption

Whether it’s white or red wine addiction, or not yet an addiction, drinking too much can have some serious impacts on health:

  • Increased blood cholesterol and toxins in because of impaired liver function
  • Premature aging
  • Increased risk of infertility
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Difficulty sleeping and poor quality sleep
  • Weight gain

It can be a little confusing to find out how wine intake can impair health. Moderate consumption may have health benefits and these often directly contradict the negative health effects of drinking.
For instance, in moderation, red wine can actually support weight loss and maintenance because of the effect of antioxidants on fat. But, when it is consumed excessively, it can add pounds. Alcohol has a lot of calories without providing much nutrition and tends to stimulate the appetite. Someone who is drinking is likely to eat more and gets excess calories from the alcohol.

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction to Wine

It’s important to recognize wine addiction symptoms because a casual and healthy drinking habit can easily become problematic. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse of any kind can cause serious complications and health problems and must be addressed and treated. Some signs that drinking wine has gotten out of control include:

  • Trying to stop drinking or to drink less, but failing again and again
  • Often setting a drinking limit and going past it
  • Other people are noticing and commenting on drinking habit
  • Feelings of guilt or shame after drinking
  • Drinking wine alone more and more frequently
  • Forgetting what happened after a drinking binge
  • Hiding drinking or lying about a number of drinks actually consumed
  • Feeling a need for wine when stressed, sad, or experiencing other negative emotions

These are all signs of a potential alcohol use disorder, which may be mild, moderate, or severe. A severe disorder is also considered an addiction, or alcoholism. There are specific alcohol or wine addiction symptoms that point to alcoholism:

  • Tolerance. Needing more and more alcohol to get the same level of intoxication.
  • Withdrawal. Uncomfortable physical and mood symptoms when not drinking.
  • Drinking in spite of issues. Continuing to drink even when it causes significant problems.
  • Time and energy. Spending an outsized amount of time and energy on drinking wine, even giving up other activities to drink.
  • Loss of control. Being completely unable to control drinking amount or frequency.

Overcoming or Preventing Wine Addiction

A harmless wine habit can all too easily become an alcohol use disorder or an addiction. There are steps that can be taken to avoid this outcome and while still enjoying a moderate amount of alcohol:

  • Keep an accurate record of wine consumption for a specific period of time.
  • Understand standard drink sizes—12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor—to avoid over-drinking.
  • Pace drinking, limiting to one glass of wine or other standard drink per hour.
  • Set specific goals for the week for drinking.
  • Never drink on an empty stomach.
  • Avoid drinking wine alone, and only enjoy it on social occasions.
  • Look for alternative activities to do in the time that was previously spent drinking, such as exercise or having coffee with friends.
  • Have alternative, healthy coping strategies for stress or other emotions that usually trigger drinking.
  • Never binge drink, which is four or more drinks at once for women and five for men, even as a reward for abstaining for several days.

For many people, drinking a glass or two of wine becomes a habit at the end of a long work day, a way to unwind and destress. This habit can quickly get out of control, with individuals believing they need that drink to feel better. Developing healthier strategies for relaxing is a great way to avoid developing this bad habit. A walk, a cup of tea, a talk with a friend, a good book, or a hot bath, are all better ways to cope with stress and to relax.
If drinking wine does get out of hand and becomes difficult to control, it may be best to keep it out of the house entirely. And, of course, if this and other self-help strategies don’t work, and wine addiction symptoms persist, it is essential to seek out professional help. Fighting any kind of addiction is nearly impossible to do alone, but mental health and addiction specialists can provide assistance.

Scientifically Proven Benefits of Wine Consumption

When consumed in moderation, wine can actually provide health benefits, especially red varieties. It is crucial though, to monitor intake and behaviors to be sure that casual, moderate drinking does not turn into a red wine addiction.
One Standard Drink
Moderation means having no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day, for men. Women generally metabolize alcohol more slowly, which is why they are unable to drink as much. Health benefits of moderate wine consumption include:

  • Promotion of sleep due to melatonin content.
  • Lowering the risk of certain types of cancer, including prostate cancer in men.
  • Rejuvenates skin cells.
  • Delaying the aging process.
  • Preventing hair loss because of the compound resveratrol.
  • Protecting against degenerative brain diseases.
  • Promoting weight loss or weight maintenance.
  • Strengthening gums and reducing the risk of gum inflammation.

Wine alcoholism symptoms should be taken very seriously. While there are well-known benefits of moderate consumption, drinking too much can have severe negative consequences. It is important to be aware of the signs of problem drinking and to take steps to make positive changes before there are serious complications.

Page Sources

  1. Anil Batra, Christian A. Müller, Karl Mann, Andreas Heinz, Alcohol Dependence and Harmful Use of Alcohol,
  2. Yftach Gepner, Yaakov Henkin, Dan Schwarzfuchs, Rachel Golan, ,Ronen Durst, Ilan Shelef, Ilana Harman-Boehm, Shosana Spitzen, Shula Witkow, Lena Novack, Michael Friger, Osnat Tangi-Rosental, Dana Sefarty, Nitzan Bril, Michal Rein, Noa Cohen, Yoash Chassidim, Benny Sarusi, Talia Wolak, Meir J. Stampfer, Assaf Rudich, Iris Shai, Differential Effect of Initiating Moderate Red Wine Consumption on 24-h Blood Pressure by Alcohol Dehydrogenase Genotypes: Randomized Trial in Type 2 Diabetes,

Published on: March 9th, 2018

Updated on: June 16th, 2020

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.


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  • Anna
    I am an introverted depressed woman .. my husband passed 10 months ago, after having dementia for the past 6 years. I have NEVER been a daily wine drinker, but now find I am able to drink a full bottle with no side effects i.e. typing this message, doing daily required chores, i.e. washing dishes, eating brunch and dinner. My father was a working alcoholic .. binge drinking when he knew he did not have work or church the next day. Just wondering what is happening to me at 71 and a bottle of wine not being able to wash away the sadness
    • Tondra
      Hello Anna This is the first time I have ever responded to a note such as yours. I have other issues in the background, but find myself –at age 72– being easily able to drink a bottle of wine. I, of course, feel effects, but remain in control and can “carry on.” I feel your concern and would like to hear more about “why” and “when” you reach for a glass of wine. I can tell you with certainty that it will not “wash away the sadness.” My experience is that I do become closer to my feelings and somehow that inhibition feels honest and liberating. Please let me know your thoughts. Tondra
      • Sonja
        I am 61 and have really never seriously asked my self the question whether I drink too much (or not) but I am asking it now. I even mentioned to my doctor. If the truth is that I am alcoholic, which I think I pretty much am, I am a “working alcoholic”. I function in life; I sleep, I work, I interact with friends and strangers and all that is expected for a socially involved person. People don’t see anything. The problem is that I do! And when it comes to the point of “I do” I think there is a problem. I try to handle it on my own. Sometimes I mange to have an entire month of not even touching wine or/and beer…. and there I am again. I am at the point when being a bit drunk makes me feel comfortable. I don;t know if this is “normal”. I have a lot of stuff going on in my life and no matter what part of my life I am dealing with, it feels a bit easier when “high” on wine. I don’t know what to do. Or maybe I do. It is just so hard to not just “accept” (which I do!!!) my drinking but to admit that I have to stop (and I don’t want to!). Am I going crazy???????
        • Diane Cooper
          Diane, I am 67 years old and I started drinking Chardonnay during a Happy Hour my neighborhood ladies put together 30 years ago. Before then I never even had wine in the house. I found that I enjoyed that end of the day, relaxed feeling I got from a glass of wine. When my family was relocated…I found myself alone and missing my old friends. I decided I would continue my glass of wine as I prepared dinner. I was not drunk, not feeling any effects, except I was calm and relaxed……and yes happier. Soon one glass turned into two glasses of wine. One before dinner and one with dinner. I never feel the urge to have wine at any other time… always before dinner and during dinner. This turned into a habit that I can control at will. I have stopped for 6 months when I wanted to loose weight. I lost 20 lbs and was happy at 127 lbs. 5’7”” for a long time. I started having my wine at night when I got home from work.. to unwind. Again one drink before dinner and one with dinner. My doctor is aware of my love for my evening wine….and hasn’t said too much about it. I am able to drink more wine over long periods of time if I am at a party. I hate being “ High” or feeling tipsy….so I will not go beyond what I can handle and remain unaffected…..2 glasses. The other day , my daughter’s future mother in law…. told me she thinks I drink too much wine. She also turned to me at my daughter’s bbq and asked me in front of everyone, how many glasses of wine I had had. I was shocked! I replied that I had had 2 and was humiliated that she would say this to me. I was in no way affected by the wine I drank. I started wondering if I did have a drinking problem, because I look forward to my evening wine at night…. and Even though I can stop at will with no side effects, I still would like to have my wine at dinner time…. Am I an abuser of wine? Am I a heavy drinker? I never get drunk… but I can get happy at a party….at which point I stop all drinking completely.
        • Lexie
          Hi Sonja , I have the same problem , how have you been getting on ?? I just don’t have a stop or full up button but can go weeks with out but then could have a bottle or two of wine in a night then at weekends way more I’m just think it might be getting to be a problem but also have a lot of friends who going out for drinks is drinking and if I said I wasn’t drinking they would give me hell so what to do?? Lexi
      • Kathy Swift
        I’m a 57 year old woman…. I didn’t drink due to my husband being what I called a raging alcoholic and didn’t want him to see me drink in case it “set him off” He passed away 6 months ago from acute alcoholism. We have an adopted 11 year old son that has only seen the majority of the bad parts of my husbands life. So I started drinking some different types of hard liquor after he passed but a few months ago I found a wine I love. If I’m not an alcoholic yet I’m really close to being one. I drink at least a large bottle of wine everyday for the past month or maybe months. I have an 11 year old that doesn’t deserve this life we’ve put him through. I’ve been journaling ever since he died and in my journal today I’ve put I’m not drinking anymore of anything. I’ve got to get my mind, body, and soul back and the wine isn’t the answer. I’m asking for prayers, good thought, or whatever you believe in to help me and my wonderful son whom I adore.
  • Michelle
    Hello, I am 52 years old, female with 14 yrs post an elective craniotomy for a p com aneurysms That was wrapped, not clipped and had a pilocidic astrocytoma directed from my corotid artery, which upon fuse toon the artery blew and I went into a coma for 20 days. Ever since the brain surgery I have t been able to drink like I did before.. I currently like to have wine nightly, but my husband wants me to limit it to weekends or none at all. I like to have at least three glasses every Friday, Saturday & Sunday.. I love my wine and don’t want to stop. I enjoy watching my shoes and drinking my wine. I feel I would miss it if I stopped and don’t want to stop. I understand there are coping mechanisms for this. I feel I should stop for health reasons. But like it. Do I have to stop if I limit my drinking to 3 glasses per night on friday amd Saturday?
  • Carol
    Anna. I am exactly the same. I do drink wine everyday but do not get drunk. I guess I developed a tolerance.
  • Naveem
    Hi . I am a 33 year man and i dringling wine approximatly every othe night 3 glases . I am alitle wories if i become adict with red wine .
  • Majella
    I lost my mother two months ago and find myself drinking a lot of wine, the weeks after I would drink every second night, but have now cut it down to two nights a week.. I find myself drinking 2 bottles on Wednesday and possibly 3 on Saturdays.. def not worth it I do a lot of sports and not at the top of my game at the minute. I will learn to enjoy it responsibly.. enjoyment is good but moderation is key I’m learning
  • Char
    I can drink a bottle of wine……daily. And, as of late – I want to drink more. My daughter died of a drug overdose in March, 2018. And, even before that – I found her struggles plenty of reason to consume wine. I work, full time as a teacher. I am good at my job. I have a family – and spend time with my grandchildren-frequently. I am never, ever, consuming wine during these occasions. But – when they are over – and it’s me – at night, relaxing – it is almost always with a bottle of wine. I don’t like the weight gain I have experienced due to my consumption. I don’t like that I have no motivation to get back to the activities, particularly the physical ones, that I used to enjoy prior to my daughter’s death. In my mind – I don’t want to consume so much wine. I know it is not a good thing. But – in my head – it’s all I want to do.
  • The Truth
    Anna, Sonja, Michelle, Carol, Majella, Char. You are alcoholics, you are abusing alcohol in an attempt to fix problems that it cannot. If anyone reading this is doing similar that may apply to you. If you are doing this at home with no friends or family in your life I guess you are only burdening social and emergency services. If you have friends or family then you are doing them a great disservice. Tonight I had to again confiscate my fathers wine, wine put him in the hospital last week for four days and he’s back at it. Despite my best efforts he has chosen the bottle over his family, and the rest of what is likely to be a painful short existence in the near future before an undignified death. Cheers.
    • Tracy Zeier
      It’s not a choice, it’s a addiction. Learn the facts before being so sharp tongued.
      • ashie
        Hi tracy, you are right. It is an addiction. I have been drinking a bottle of wine every single night, occasionally more, for the past 2 years. i usually wakes up feeling guilty that i finished that entire bottle of wine the night before and promised myself i wldnt drink that day. Then evening comes and my hand automatically reach for a new bottle, without fail. I am dealing with depression issues, low self esteem etc. Most of my friends/colleagues sees me at the outgoing, cheerful and funny girl. Truth is, i hate being around people, i try to avoid social events and rather stay home and drink alone than hang out with friends. Its an awful feeling knowing that you are suffering from alcohol dependency/alcoholism or whatever they call it, but not knowing how to deal with it. Trust me, i tried.
  • Tracy Zeier
    I’m 47, I drink A LOT of wine every day. It’s so bad that I wake up and poor a glass of wine instead of a cup of coffee. I really let it get out of hand. I’ve been binging for 38 days now, wine every day. I’m going through a lot in life, divorce, no friends, lost my daughter. I scared to self-detox in fear of DT’s and Seizures. (Past history of them). My Dr. prescribed me Riperdone, Lamotrogen, and Lorazapam. I’m still scared of withdrawl symptoms. I don’t need the wine, I just fear of having a seizure, as I live by myself and have had them in the past. I have had so many alcohol related seizures, that I have broke my face (9 Pins, 4 Plates in face) Knocked out all my front teeth, had to have implants inserted. Broke my back T-7 and T-8, have several facial scars so deep I need laser therapy. This on and off situation has me losing it. I feel so scared to detox on my own, but I want to so badly, I’m sick of drinking. It takes me so much to get a elated feeling. I would go to a medical detox facility, but I have no insurance right now. I’m just lost and feeling helpless.
  • Alex
    Dear ‘THE Truth’ onthis very site is a paragraph that reads: Alcoholism affects people from all backgrounds and all walks of life, and no one who drinks is immune from the threat. I divorced my husband 10 years ago as he is a alchoholic and judged him for his choices. 5 years ago i lost someone and now i find myself on this site knowing i need to start making better choices. funny right. i was like you but no person is exempt from the claws of alcohol. Look after your dad whule you have him and stop judging him. he only needs your love.
  • Anna
    I feel like when I do Drink I don’t know when to Stop
  • Bob
    Wine is good not only because of the flavour, taste, smell etc., it’s nice for social drinking, and never connected with an image of alcoholic. My wife had a habit, she was drinking everyday a glass of wine, form time to time more, but I never saw her too drunk. I believed that drinking less, but more often is much better in every way. I didn’t realized that she had the problem with alcohol and now I had also. As I wrote, she never was too drunk, she never drank in inapropriate time, never went to work drunk, never drive a car drunk. But we were drinking every day in the evening. I started to notice the problem, when our traditional hour of drinking was postponed by something, she was at first irritated by anything, then just angry till she got her glass of wine. When I was trying to say that something is wrong, she was in denial. I read a book by Ellen Petersen, which helped me to find a way to speak with my wife. Now we both are on recovery, both supporting each other, changing our lives, and our love is bigger than ever!
    • karen
      This is so encouraging. Thank you for sharing your story.