Mid-Life Women and Wine: A Love-Hate Relationship

There has been a distinct shift in the way I and women I know feel about wine. Before it was considered sheer pleasure – enjoying a glass with a meal, wine-tasting with friends, and developing a palate. Then, somewhere along the line, it became more of a routine: come home from a day of work and pour a glass while making dinner. Then, maybe another one. Drinking wine became a little less “special occasion” and more of an everyday occurrence.

Women, Wine and Health
While we continued to enjoy wine, we followed the various studies that would come out about women, wine and health. Many concluded that moderate alcohol intake lowered the risk of heart disease because it acts as a mild blood thinner. Some studies touted the heart-healthy benefits of red wine because of an antioxidant compound, resveratrol, found in the skins and seeds of grapes. But there were also studies that showed a stronger link to women, alcohol and an increased risk of cancer, mostly driven by breast cancer.

Like many health studies, those about alcohol intake were often conflicting or inconclusive, but it did sew seeds of doubt as to whether that daily glass or two of wine was such a good thing for our health. We have begun to think that maybe we’d be better off without it. However, like many behaviors that become habits, we have found that wine drinking is not so easy to stop. In a recent gathering with a few women colleagues, discussing our goals for the coming year – 3 out of 5 said they’d like to curb their wine habit.

The Love-Hate Relationship 
Herein lies the love-hate relationship. We know that wine is probably not great for us – it may cause disease, it’s full of sugar, it makes us lazy, and it can be addictive. But, its pleasures are compelling: a glass of wine signals the end of a hard day of work and the start of a relaxing evening, it evokes a feeling of “la dolce vita,” and the alcohol takes the edge off whatever may be bothering us at the time.

My feelings about wine drinking have shifted. I have decided that I don’t want to drink wine as much as I used to. I don’t like the possibility that it might make me sick, is addictive, and I don’t want the extra calories. So I’ve taken steps to curb my habit: I’m not drinking wine on most weeknights, and I have substituted kombucha or mineral water with lemon in my wine glass.

Just out of curiosity and (because I’m a financial advisor!), I did a calculation to see how much money one could save by curbing a wine habit. To keep it simple, these are the broad assumptions:

– There are five glasses of wine to a bottle (5 ounce pours)
– Two glasses of wine consumed per night Monday-Thursday
– A bottle of weekday wine costs an average of $30.00
– Three glasses of wine consumed per night Friday-Sunday
– A bottle of weekend wine costs an average of $50.00.

Calculation:
2 glasses x $5.00 x 4 x 52 = $2080.00
3 glasses x $10.00 x 3 x 52 = $4680.00
Grand total: $6760.00 per year.

So another added benefit to reducing wine consumption is better cash flow!