How Much Wine Does It Take To Get Drunk?

Many people enjoy a glass of wine and there’s nothing wrong with that as long as you drink in moderation. If you drink too much too often, you can harm your health, not to mention sometimes making a fool of yourself. In this article, we will take a look at how much wine will make you drunk, what factors affect this, and how to stop yourself from getting drunk.

How Much Wine Makes You Drunk?

The average number of glasses that will make you drunk is between three and four. This is because the blood alcohol level or BAC reaches the minimum amount of drunkenness at 0.25%. The BAC is worked out using a person’s weight. The bigger you are, the more you can drink before getting drunk. These are the average BACs per 12 oz according to weight.

Weight                                                     BAC

Under 100 lbs.                                          0.9

101 – 150 lbs.                                           0.08

151 – 200 lbs.                                           0.06

201 – 250 lbs.                                           0.04

Over 250 lbs.                                           0.03  

However, these figures aren’t set in stone. Lots of other factors can affect how quickly a person can get drunk such as metabolism, age, and whether they are a man or a woman.

You shouldn’t really drink if you are driving as it is dangerous and you could hurt or even kill somebody. However, by law, you can have some alcohol in your bloodstream. The maximum BAC is 0.08. Of course, you never know exactly how much alcohol you have in your bloodstream so we suggest that you don’t drink at all if you are getting behind the wheel.

Wine Alcohol Content

All alcoholic beverages have an ABV or alcohol by volume. The higher the ABV the higher the amount of alcohol in the drink. Wines generally have ABVs between 11% and 15% although fortified wines like sherry and port can have ABVs up to 20%.  Beer, on the other hand, has an ABV of between 4% and 6% while spirits have ABVs of around 40%. The lower the ABV of the wine, the more you can drink before you get drunk. 

There are four categories as follows, with examples of wines falling into these categories

Type                           ABV                                    Examples

Low                            Below 12%                         Giol Prosecco 11%

                                                                                Organic Roots Rosso 12%

                                                                                Adobe Sauvignon Blanc 12%        

Moderate                  12.5% – 13.5%                      Champagne 12.5%

                                                                               Pinot Grigio Alto Adige 13.5%

                                                                               Biblio Chazz 13%

High                         13.5 – 14%                            Marchesse Antinon Chianti Classico 14%

                                                                               Excelsior Heritage Viognier 14%

                                                                               Catena Zapata Alamos Bonnard’s 13.5%

Very High                 14.5% and above                 Alfonso Oloroso Sherry 20%

                                                                               La Fe Madeira 15%

                                                                               Andresen Fine Ruby Port 19.5%

So, if you don’t want to get drunk quickly, choose a wine with a low ABV. Try Moscato which has an ABV of between just 5% and 7%. 

What Factors Affect How Quickly You Get Drunk

There are lots of different factors that affect how much we can drink. We’ll take a look at them here.


As we have said, people who weigh more generally have a higher tolerance for alcohol. This is because the bigger you are, the more blood you have in your system, meaning that you have more blood to absorb the alcohol. People over 200 pounds can generally drink three 5-oz glasses of wine before getting drunk, while someone under 100 pounds could start to feel drunk after just one glass. In addition, taller people can drink more as there is more body space for the alcohol to dilute. 

Biological Sex

In general, women tend to get drunk more quickly than men. This is, unfortunately for women, true and is due to a lot of reasons. Women are often smaller than men for a start. In addition, they have more fat and alcohol doesn’t mix well with fat. When the body metabolizes the alcohol, the fat content lessens the water-soluble spaces it can go to. However, if you have lean muscle, you will be able to drink more before getting drunk because muscles are rich in water. 

Women also have less dehydrogenase in their bodies. This is a compound that breaks down alcohol. Men have twice as much dehydrogenase than women so they can drink more before getting drunk. Men also have more water in their bodies and water helps to break down alcohol. It’s an unfair world for women! 


If you have a fast metabolism, you will metabolize alcohol quicker and therefore you will be able to drink more before you get drunk. However, the opposite is true if you have a slow metabolism. In general, as you get older, your metabolism slows down.


The state of your health can also affect how quickly you get drunk. For example, if you have liver problems, you will have difficulty releasing the suitable compounds that metabolize alcohol. If your body is busy fighting off a cold or the flu, it also will have difficulty processing alcohol. Lack of sleep can also affect your tolerance.

Empty Stomach

This is very important. If you drink on an empty stomach, you will lessen the water content in your body. As a result, your body will have to process a higher alcohol concentration. Nutritious fats and proteins in the form of food can enhance your alcohol concentration. 


Genes and race can surprisingly affect the amount you can drink before you become drunk. Many Asians and Native Americans possess a gene that doesn’t allow them to process alcohol quickly. 

Asian people can also have Asian Flush where their face, neck, and back redden. This accelerates their heart rate when they drink, even if they haven’t had a lot to drink. 

Your Drinking Experience

There is another factor that has nothing to do with size, sex, or metabolism. It is all to do with how much you drink regularly. If you drink a lot every day, this can raise your tolerance for alcohol and it will take a lot more to make you drunk. A person who just has the odd drink and then suddenly has a few glasses will probably get drunk quickly. However, this is not a reason to drink too much as it does have a negative impact on your health and could even turn you into an alcoholic.

Signs of Drunkeness

If you get to know the signs of getting drunk, then you can slow down or better still, stop drinking before you fall over or start talking rubbish. These are the signs of intoxication.

Increased Excitement

When you start getting drunk, you often feel happy. You might start laughing for no reason and lower your guard. You might say something you would never say if you were sober. This is due to your hormones being triggered by alcohol. When this happens your blood pressure will likely drop as well as your heart rate. This will give you a warm and cozy feeling.

Decreased Inhibitions

This can be a dangerous aspect of getting drunk. Your inhibitions are often lowered and if you are with unfamiliar people, you could be taken advantage of. 


Your brain can slow down when you drink too much, and you could find it hard to understand what people are saying. You might also find it hard to communicate and make your feelings clear. You may also find it hard to remember what happened when you were drunk. 

Dizziness and Stomach Problems

You can start to become dizzy when you have drunk too much and you may also begin to feel sick. At worst, you will vomit. 

Loss of Coordination

If you have drunk too much, you may find it hard to walk and put words together. When you get to this stage, you should stop drinking. 

If you ever suffer from these symptoms, slow down with your drinking or better, still, stop. Don’t drive if you’re not fully in control of your mind and your body. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s also a good idea to have a glass of water and some food. Keep an eye on your friends as well and help them in the same way.


How To Drink Without Getting Drunk

Now that you know what the signs are that you are getting drunk, let’s take a look at how to stop yourself from drinking too much. It is much more sensible not to get drunk and it will also allow you to savor your wine. 

Keep an Eye on the Size of the Drink

A standard serving of wine is 5 oz. However, many glasses hold more so be aware that you might be drinking more than you think. If you’re drinking wine with a low ABV, be aware that you can still get drunk if you have too many glasses. Some restaurants will give you more than the standard size so keep this in mind. 

Don’t Drink on an Empty Stomach

If you eat while you are drinking, the food will line your stomach and absorb the alcohol. In addition, it is a good idea to have a glass of water in between each glass of wine. Water can speed up your metabolism by breaking down the alcohol. It also fills you up and then you probably won’t want to drink too much wine.

Pace Yourself

It is a good idea to sip your wine. Gulping wine can shock your system, making it slower to break down the alcohol. It also gives you a chance to appreciate the wine.

Choose A Wine With A Low ABV

There are plenty of wines out there with a low ABV that are just as delicious as ones with a high ABV so if you don’t want to get drunk, choose one of these. Wines with a low ABV are still light and fruity and are a good choice for those who are new to wine. 

Learn How Much Alcohol You Can Tolerate

If you know your alcohol limits, you will be able to stop drinking before you become intoxicated. As we have said, people who drink more often probably have a higher tolerance level but although they may not get drunk, they still may have too much alcohol in their bloodstream to drive.


Wine is a delicious drink with health benefits but it needs to be drunk in moderation otherwise your health may be compromised. By following our guide, you should be able to ascertain how much you can drink before you get drunk. You will then be able to enjoy the wine more.

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