How many units are in a standard glass of wine? A typical-strength medium (175ml) glass of wine has around 2.3 units of alcohol. When we break this down a little further into numbers, we can see that according to official websites, the range of ABV for unfortified wine is about 5.5% to 16%, with an average of 11.6%. Fortified wines range from 15.5% to 25% ABV, with an average of 18%.

Whiskey, beer and vodka are also in the top 5 most consumed alcohols, along with wine. Whilst certain wines, such as red wines can be beneficial to health, too many glasses of wine can be dangerous. Find out how many units are in a glass of wine and other measurements, the dangers of drinking too many units of alcohol and more here.

What is a Unit of Alcohol?

To better understand alcohol consumption, we should first look at what the units represent and how these are measured. A unit of alcohol actually refers to the ml of pure alcohol. One unit, in this case, equals 10 ml or 8g of pure alcohol. This is how much the human body can tolerate easily and digest properly in one hour. Therefore if more is consumed, you will be unable to tolerate the alcohol and this is when you may start to feel “tipsy”.

Whilst this may seem a relatively simple statement to understand, it can get complex. This is because there are numerous factors that will change the units of alcohol. For example, a large glass of wine has approximately 3 units of alcohol in a glass of wine  Therefore just increasing the amount of wine in the glass by a small amount can add an extra unit. Secondly, the strength of the wine.

How many times have you closely studied the strength of each wine when you buy a bottle? Or in a bar, it is not possible to know the exact content of alcohol without asking or being a connoisseur. It is believed that red wine is generally a little stronger than white wine, for example. You can of course work out your intake with a unit calculator, which is very helpful for an alcohol diary to see if you are drinking too much.

Keeping track of your alcohol consumption can help you build a better picture of how many units you are drinking and if it is within the limit. You can also work out the reasons why you are drinking, and the types of alcohol consumed.

It is important to know your alcohol limits, however, some people are not so sure how to control these limits. Too much alcohol consumption can lead to alcohol addiction.

What are the Health Risks of Drinking Too Much?

Consuming anything in excess can pose health risks, but drinking too much wine can create some unwanted issues that can really affect your mental and physical health. Let’s assess the health risks of consuming too much wine.

A decline in cognitive ability

Alcohol can create numerous neurological problems. Neurotransmitters are affected when we consume too much alcohol. Alcohol abuse can impact pre-existing conditions, such as anxiety, depression, personality disorder, bipolar and many more. You may feel irritable and stressed, and this may lead to you wanting more alcohol to try to ‘fix’ the problem, especially if you drink a high amount of units of wine.

Liver or pancreas problems

Alcohol is metabolised by the liver but if we overconsume, the liver cannot tolerate the problem, leading to issues such as liver cancer or cirrhosis. It can also create stomach issues and kidney problems over time. You may feel nauseous, constipated, have trouble digesting or abdominal bloating and discomfort from too much alcohol.

Hypertension (high blood pressure)

Alcohol raises both blood pressure and your heart rate as it is a stimulant. Whilst this can feel good in small bursts and give you energy and excitement, it can pose a problem if you already have high blood pressure. Overdrinking could lead to an increased risk of stroke and heart attack.

Alcohol addiction

Addiction is not as uncommon as you may think. Addiction can happen relatively quickly and affect your entire life. Addiction happens when we slowly become too tolerant of the addictive substance, which is why it is important to look at the recommended maximum daily intake of alcohol. Addiction is a disease and needs to be dealt with safely and effectively.


Whilst alcohol alone cannot cause diabetes, it can contribute over time and also worsen the symptoms of people who already have diabetes. Alcohol in diabetes poses an additional risk because it has a negative effect on blood sugar levels. It can deplete the body, which is why consuming sugar when you are drunk can temporarily regulate your levels and create a balance. But this also has negative impacts.

How Many Units of Alcohol is Safe to Drink

As stated by the NHS, both men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis. Alcohol addiction can create many physical and mental issues. If you find that alcohol has already created issues within your life, it is important to first recognise the signs, and secondly, seek the help that you need. These signs include:

  • Impaired judgement
  • Inability to focus or complete daily tasks
  • Aggressiveness or irritability
  • Mood changes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Inappropriate social behaviours
  • Difficulties communicating
  • Thinking constantly about your next drink
  • Poor sleep

Get the Help You Need

If any of the above have affected your daily life or routine, then perhaps it is important to reach out to a professional. While treatment times on the NHS can have lengthy waits, you can get some advice from your GP and join local groups, such as AA meetings, and even online forums that can help you.

Alternatively, private alcohol rehabilitation is the best and most successful form of treatment. Suffering from addiction is a struggle, and can create problems in all areas of your life.

If you’d like to take control of your life and create a life that you love, then it is important to reach out and speak to someone today. You may want to take a look at how we can help. Please get in touch with us today on 0800 880 7596.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: May 25, 2023

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.