Portion distortion: Wine

Reviewed by our expert panel
Portion distortion: Wine

Kicking back and enjoying a glass of wine with friends? How much are you really pouring in your glass?

A study in the UK found, since 1990, wine glass size has increased from around 200ml to an average of 449ml.

Does that mean we’re pouring more into our glass? Not necessarily, but it’s quite likely. A bigger glass certainly makes it easier to keep pouring.

Using a popular, bigger wine glass size and pouring in what you want means, for a woman, you could easily get more than the daily recommended units in just one glass. Pour yourself another glass and it could be nearly half your limit for the week in just one evening or even more, depending on your pour.

The Ministry of Health recommends women drink no more than two standard drinks a day and no more than 10 standard drinks a week. For men, it’s three standard drinks a day and no more than 15 a week.

The more you drink, the more at risk of injury you become.

Drinking alcohol has also been linked to increased risk of chronic health conditions such as cancer and liver disease.

Guidelines for how much alcohol to drink are based on a ‘standard drink’. This is based on 10g of pure alcohol, about the amount our bodies can process in an hour. A standard drink is 100ml of 12.5 per cent alcohol by volume (ABV) wine. The ABV percentage varies with different wines.

Tips for managing your portion distortion:

• use a measuring jug to see how much wine you’re really pouring in your glass
• think about using a smaller glass
• make a small mark on the glass to show where 100ml is
• convert the recommendations to your pour size. For example, for a woman drinking a 12.5 per cent alcohol wine and pouring 200ml glasses, that means no more than five glasses a week.

Did you know?

All bottles, cans and casks of alcoholic drinks must be labelled with the number of standard drinks they contain. Check it out, you may be surprised.

Watching your weight?

Contrary to popular belief, the kilojoules in wine come from the alcohol, not sugars. In our 12.5 per cent ABV wine, 97 per cent of the kilojoules are from alcohol. For more information see the guides at

Standard drink
100ml of 12.5 per cent alcohol wine: 300kJ
1 standard drink

Pour your own
2 standard drinks In a 350ml glass, you could be easily pouring yourself a 200ml serve: 600kJ
2 standard drinks

First published: Feb 2019

Article sources and references


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