Savor wine in moderation at most.
For many people, enjoying a daily glass of red wine is an appealing feature of the Mediterranean diet. But wine consumption is strictly optional. “A glass of wine a day is not really hurting people, but it’s probably not super-helpful,” Herald says.
Alcohol, particularly long-time, heavy drinking, has been linked to increased risk of certain types of cancer, high blood pressure, liver disease and other health problems. Although a wine component called resveratrol has shown some heart-healthy effects in studies, Herald says, you couldn’t possibly drink enough to get clinically significant doses. “In fact, if you want the nutrients from wine – eat some grapes,” he suggests.
Wine consumption is a gray area in the Mediterranean diet, Eichler says. “Most people don’t understand what a serving of wine is,” she adds. According to the 2020-25 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a single serving of wine equals 5 ounces. Moderate wine consumption consists of one daily drink at most for women and two daily drinks at most for men. In terms of the diet, she says, “If you don’t drink wine, don’t start.”
Bishop points out that wine is consumed as part of the meal, with food at the table, in Mediterranean cultures. “It’s not really a necessary part of the diet – it’s a traditional part of the lifestyle, for people who want to mimic that.”