Master of Wine Emma Jenkins shares her guidelines for enjoying your favourite tipple as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Wine as a part of a healthy lifestyle? Yes, of course! Mind you, I am a woman who has a couple of dozen wines a week delivered to my door – for a good cause I hope readers will agree. But what might surprise you is how little of that wine I actually drink...
Women generally, however, are drinking more than ever and while most do so sensibly, health officials are increasingly alarmed by the rise in alcohol-related problems in women (now on a par with men, who used to be around three times higher). So how do we stay on the healthy side of wine consumption?
Everything in moderation. It’s better to go for quality over quantity. Don’t just pour a glass on autopilot – aim to drink the best wine you can and take time to enjoy it. New Zealand guidelines recommend no more than two standard drinks per day for women plus a couple of alcohol-free days a week. Remember, though, a standard drink is
NOT the same as a glass, especially with the goldfish bowl styles popular these days. A glance at the standard drinks per bottle shown on the label will let you know if your pour size needs adjusting.
And if it does? Try something like Feb Fast or Dry July, or just take a break from drinking for a couple of weeks and check your response; it will
It’s better to go for quality over quantity and take time to enjoy it.
tell you if pleasure is now turning into habit.
Go low... With alcohol, more is definitely not better. Wine typically ranges from 12 per cent to 14.5 per cent alcohol by volume (ABV) but it can go as high as 16 per cent, meaning it’s fairly easy to exceed those standard drink guidelines. The good news is there is now a growing selection of wines made to have ABVs of around nine per cent or lower; these are usually labelled as “lighter” or sometimes even “low carb”. Certain varieties in cooler climates will also produce naturally lowalcohol wines – riesling is a great example.
Or even go wine free... If you do find the wine o’clock autopilot kicking in every day, try an alternative every second day. Pour a soda water with fresh citrus, chopped mint or one of the trendy new soda syrups. Maybe go for a walk with a friend instead, try a new tea or coffee, or just relax with a magazine (you know which one!). Your liver will love you for it.
So, how much do I drink? Mostly about a bottle, sometimes two, over a week. I might indulge in a bit more at parties, but that’s not a common occurrence with three young children as alarm clocks! My view remains that a decent glass of wine or two is absolutely fine to enjoy regularly as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, savoured with good food and great company.