Depending on several factors, wine can linger in your system for varying lengths of time. To determine how long this popular beverage stays in your system, we must take a closer look at alcohol breakdown in the body, the alcohol content by drink and the specific alcohol content in wine. This blog will provide a comprehensive guide on these topics.

How Long Does Wine Stay in Your System?

The duration that wine remains in your system can vary based on several factors, including the amount consumed and your metabolism, body weight, age and overall health. On average, the liver can process approximately one standard drink per hour. For wine, a standard drink is typically defined as a five-ounce glass with an alcohol content of about 12 percent.

However, even after the liver metabolizes the alcohol, traces can still be detected in different bodily systems for varying lengths of time:

1. Blood: Alcohol can be detected in the blood for up to 12 hours after consumption.

2. Breath: A breathalyzer can detect alcohol for up to 24 hours.

3. Urine: Alcohol can be detected in urine for 12-24 hours and, in some advanced urine tests, for up to 80 hours.

4. Saliva: Alcohol can be detected in saliva for one to five days.

5. Hair: Hair tests can detect alcohol for up to 90 days.

Alcohol Breakdown in the Body

To determine how long alcohol stays in your system, it’s important to understand how alcohol is metabolized. The process of alcohol breakdown in the body involves several steps:

1. Absorption: Alcohol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream through the stomach and small intestine. This process can begin within minutes of consuming wine.

2. Distribution: Once in the bloodstream, alcohol is distributed throughout the body, affecting various organs and systems, including the brain.

3. Metabolism: The liver is the primary site for alcohol metabolism, where enzymes such as alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) convert alcohol into acetaldehyde and acetic acid. Acetic acid is further broken down into carbon dioxide and water, excreted from the body.

4. Excretion: Alcohol and its metabolites are excreted through urine, breath and sweat. The excretion rate depends on various factors, including hydration levels and overall health.

Alcohol Content by Drink

The alcohol content of different drinks can influence how long alcohol stays in your system. Here’s a comparison of common alcoholic beverages:

Beer: Typically contains 4-5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). A standard drink is 12 ounces.

Wine: Generally contains 12-14 percent ABV. A standard drink is 5 ounces.

Spirits (e.g., vodka, whiskey): Usually contain around 40 percent ABV. A standard drink is 1.5 ounces.

Each drink contains approximately the same amount of pure alcohol, which is why it is considered standard. The body metabolizes each drink at a similar rate, regardless of the type of alcohol.

Wine Alcohol Content

The alcohol content, or alcohol by volume (ABV) in wine can vary significantly based on the type of wine:

Red Wine: 12-15 percent ABV

White Wine: 11-14 percent ABV

Dessert Wine: 14-20 percent ABV

Sparkling Wine: 10-12 percent ABV

These variations can affect how long wine stays in your system. For example, a glass of dessert wine with higher alcohol content will take longer to metabolize than a glass of white wine with lower ABV.

Factors Affecting Alcohol Metabolism

Several factors can influence how quickly or slowly alcohol is metabolized:

1. Body Weight and Composition: People with higher body weight and muscle mass typically metabolize alcohol more quickly.

2. Age: Younger individuals usually metabolize alcohol faster than older adults.

3. Gender: Women generally metabolize alcohol more slowly than men due to differences in body composition and enzyme levels.

4. Food Intake: Consuming food with alcohol can slow its absorption into the bloodstream.

5. Hydration: Staying hydrated can aid in the quicker excretion of alcohol.

Understanding how long wine stays in your system involves considering various factors, including the type and amount of wine consumed, individual metabolic rates and overall health. On average, the liver processes a standard drink, such as a 5-ounce glass of wine, in about one hour. However, traces of alcohol can remain detectable in the body for much longer through blood, breath, urine, saliva and hair tests.

By being mindful of the factors influencing alcohol metabolism and consumption, you can make informed decisions about drinking wine and its impact on your body.

If you or someone you know has a suspected drinking problem, call for help today. Silver Ridge Recovery offers premier residential substance use disorder treatment programs for midlife adults, including programming for individuals with alcohol use disorder. If you’re feeling out of control around wine, our team of professionals and supportive community of peers can help you reclaim your life and build a healthier future.