Recovery Center Blog

Is Wine As Addictive As Other Types of Alcohol?

Written By Recovery Centers - April 22nd, 2022
Is Wine As Addictive As Other Types of Alcohol?

Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance in the United States. 85.6% of people ages 18 and older report drinking at some point in their life and more than 50% drink each month.[1] While many people can drink alcohol in moderation, and do so safely, others struggle with problematic drinking. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), nearly 15 million people ages 12 and older have an alcohol use disorder.

When people think of addictive drugs, they often think that the most potent ones are the most addictive. While this is true when it comes to stimulants like methamphetamine or opioids like heroin, the same cannot be said for alcohol. There are many different beverages that contain alcohol and they vary by potency, but that does not mean one is more addictive than another. Still, some people believe that wine is not as addictive as other types of alcohol because it has a sweet flavor, low concentration of alcohol, and is a socially acceptable beverage.

Percent Alcohol Content by Beverage Type

There are several different types of alcohol, each of which has varying levels of alcohol concentration. For example, a shot of liquor does not contain the same amount of alcohol as a glass of wine. However, that doesn’t mean that wine isn’t as addictive as other types of alcohol. This misconception can lead to people drinking more wine thinking they are immune to alcoholism, only to find themselves showing signs of alcohol use disorder.

ABV is an abbreviation that indicates “alcohol by volume” in terms of the percent alcohol contained in a beverage.[2] The ABV of various types of alcohol are:

  • Beer: 4-8% ABV
  • Fortified Wine: 16-24% ABV
  • Unfortified Wine: 14-16% ABV
  • Gin: 36-50% ABV
  • Liqueurs: 15% ABV
  • Malt Beverage: 15% ABV
  • Rum: 36-50% ABV
  • Tequila: 50-51% ABV
  • Vodka: 40-95% ABV
  • Whiskey: 36-50% ABV

Regardless of the percent alcohol content, alcoholic beverages all contain alcohol (ethanol) that has mood and mind-altering effects on the brain and body. Any type of alcohol, in excess, can harm the body, and alcohol abuse can lead to a full-blown alcohol use disorder.

Why is Wine Sometimes Perceived As Less Addictive Than Other Types of Alcohol?

Wine is a staple in many American households and at gatherings. It is normal for many people to have a glass of wine with dinner, while out with friends, and at celebrations like weddings. There is even such a thing as “wine mom culture” or “mommy wine culture” describing stay-at-home moms who frequently enjoy wine.[3] This kind of relaxed attitude about the beverage normalizes it, so some people may think it is less addictive than other types of alcohol.

In reality, anyone can get addicted to any mood-or-mind-altering substance if they abuse it long enough or use it as a coping mechanism. Since the alcohol content is lower in wine than it is in hard liquors, people may just have to drink more wine to feel the same effects as they would from vodka or rum.

Signs of a Drinking Problem

Knowing when casual wine drinking has crossed the line and progressed into alcoholism isn’t always easy, especially with how ingrained drinking wine and other types of alcohol are in American culture. Common signs of a drinking problem include:

  • Wanting to stop drinking or cut back on the amount one drinks, but being unable to control how often one drinks
  • Having cravings for alcohol
  • Experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop drinking
  • Feeling like one needs wine or alcohol to get through the day
  • Isolating from friends and family
  • Drinking alcohol during inappropriate times
  • Lying to loved ones about one’s drinking problems
  • Drinking alcohol while using other drugs to amplify the effects

Left untreated, alcohol addiction can negatively impact one’s physical, mental, and emotional health.

Consequences of Drinking Too Much Wine

Drinking too much wine has the same consequences associated with drinking too much alcohol. Short-term side effects include:

  • Headaches
  • Hangovers
  • High blood pressure
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Blackouts

Long-term risks of wine abuse or addiction include:[4]

  • Physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms
  • Liver damage
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Brain damage
  • Increased risk of certain types of cancer

The best way to avoid these long-term risks is to seek treatment for alcoholism as soon as possible.

Find Help for Alcohol Abuse and Addiction Today

The idea that wine is any less addictive than other types of alcohol is simply false. You can get addicted to any substance that makes you feel high or intoxicated, especially if you abuse it. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, rest assured there is effective help available.

At, we aim to serve you as a complete resource on everything addiction and recovery. Whether you need to learn about the alcohol rehab process or locate an alcoholism treatment center near you, a team member is here to help. Call now to start your recovery journey.