The health effects of wine are mainly determined by its active ingredient alcohol.
Drinking small quantities of alcohol is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome and early death.
Drinking more than this amount, however, increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, and stroke. Risk is greater in younger people due to binge drinking which may result in violence or accidents.
About 3.3 million deaths (5.9% of all deaths) are believed to be due to alcohol each year. Alcoholism reduces a person’s life expectancy by around ten years and excessive alcohol use is the third leading cause of early death in the United States.
No professional medical association recommends that people who are nondrinkers should start drinking wine.
Wine has a long history of use as an early form of medication, being recommended variously as a safe alternative to drinking water, an antiseptic for treating wounds, a digestive aid, and as a cure for a wide range of ailments including lethargy, diarrhea and pain from child birth.
Ancient Egyptian Papyri and Sumerian tablets dating back to 2200 BC detail the medicinal role of wine, making it the world’s oldest documented human-made medicine.
Wine continued to play a major role in medicine until the late 19th and early 20th century, when changing opinions and medical research on alcohol and alcoholism cast doubt on its role as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Nearly all research into the positive medical benefits of wine consumption makes a distinction between moderate consumption and heavy or binge drinking.
Moderate levels of consumption vary by the individual according to age, gender, genetics, weight and body stature, as well as situational conditions, such as food consumption or use of drugs.
In general, woman absorb alcohol more quickly than men due to their lower body water content, so their moderate levels of consumption may be lower than those for a male of equal age.
Some experts define “moderate consumption” as less than one 5-US-fluid-ounce (150 ml) glass of wine per day for women and two glasses per day for men.
Source: O’Keefe, JH; Bhatti, SK; Bajwa, A; DiNicolantonio, JJ; Lavie, CJ (March 2014)., Harding, G. (2005). A Wine Miscellany. New York: Clarkson Potter, Robinson, J., ed. (2006). The Oxford Companion to Wine (3rd ed.). Oxford University, Shuman, Tracy C., ed. (October 1, 2005), “Alcohol Facts and Statistics”. Retrieved 9 May 2015., Schuckit, MA (27 November 2014). “Recognition and management of withdrawal delirium (delirium tremens).”. The New England Journal of Medicine, Heart.org, Wikipedia