How Many Glasses Of Alcohol Free Wine To Get Drunk? Can you even?

Zero alcohol or alcohol free wines are absolutely flying off the shelves these days. The big power house wine makers are all starting alcohol free ranges. They are still pretty new, so many people have questions about them, not least, “how many glasses of alcohol free wine to get drunk?”

This is actually an interesting questions. Alcohol free wines are specifically designed to look and taste like wine. They are all fermented before the alcohol is removed. So just how many of these wines that taste like the alcoholic ones you have been drinking for years does it take to get drunk?

How many glasses of alcohol free wine to get drunk?

The CDC, very handily it has to be said, tells us the average 160lb adult male needs to drink x4 5fl oz glasses of 12% ABV wine to get drunk. x240 0.05% ABV glasses of non alcoholic wine equals one standard 12% glass of wine so you would need to drink x960 alcohol free glasses of wine to get drunk. These would have to be drank over a 1-2 hr period as your body begins to break down the alcohol as soon as it is absorbed.

How much alcohol is in a glass alcohol free wine?

The world of low and non alcoholic wines is full of confusing terminology. The terms are not even standard across the world with some regions using language with would be illegal in other. 

What most understand of a “non alcoholic” wine, it can have an ABV of anywhere from 0.05% to 0.5% whereas an alcohol free wine should have an ABV below 0.05%, giving it a 0.0% to one decimal place of rounding.

The EU is a region where any beer, wine or spirit with an ABV below 0.5%, can be called alcohol free. This would be illegal in the US or UK.

If in doubt about what strength of alcohol is in the bottle, then look for the numerical value and ignore the writing.

I have written a full article on labelling of non alcoholic and alcohol free wines. You can click here to read it.

What a standard glass of wine?

To edge how much alcohol free wine is needed to get drunk you need to compare it with a standard glass of wine, which is nearly impossible.

Thankfully the USDA has defined a standard glass of alcoholic wine. A standard wine has 12% alcohol by volume and a fluid volume of 5fl oz.

By dividing 12 by 0.05 you can work out that 240 glasses of alcohol free wine equals one glass of alcoholic wine.

The point of a standard alcoholic drink is to standardise how much alcohol you drink across the different sections. A standard drink will contain 14g of alcohol (0.6 ounces). Below is how much volume and percentage it takes a beer, wine and spirit to have this precise amount of alcohol.

Drink and volumeAlcohol content
12fl oz Beer5%
5fl oz Wine12%
1.5fl oz Spirit40%
Standard Drinks 

How many glasses of alcohol free wine equals one wine?

The USDA also state the different types of wine, red and sparkling, have different average alcohol contents, which is not surprising. To see how many glasses of non alcoholic wine equals those you can read my article on it here.

Their “standard wine” doesn’t really fit a particular wine. It’s too low to be a red, too high to be white but maybe right for champagne, it is definitely more of an average. I will be using it for the calculations tho.

A glass of alcohol free wine has 0.05% (at max) alcohol by volume and a standard alcoholic wine (according to the USDA) has 12% alcohol by volume. Therefore, you would need to drink 240 glasses of alcohol free wine of the same volume to equal one glass of alcoholic wine of the same volume (in terms of alcohol) – a glass is defined as 5fl oz.

What is the legal definition of “drunk”?

Im sure most of us think the definition of drunk is not being able to remember what happened the night before. There surely must be a more scientific definition tho?

A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% is classed as legally intoxicated in the US. 

So where does a BAC of 0.08% fit in and what are the effects you will be feeling just before and after this level?

What is blood alcohol concentration and what happens as it rises?

As you drink more alcohol than your liver can metabolise, your BAC rises. The effects of a rising blood alcohol concentration has been tracked by many studies

Lots of informational websites include this data now.

  • 0.02% – Probably the lowest measurable BAC where you can track any brain issues. You may feel more relaxed and potentially make poorer decisions.
  • 0.05%: When you hit this BAC, your behaviour will may become over exaggerated. Speak louder and gesturing more are common. You may also begin to lose control of small muscles like the ones that control your eyes leading to blurry vision.
  • 0.08%: This is the current legal driving limit in the U.S and many areas around the world. It is also the legal definition of intoxicated in the US. You will likely lose some coordination, so your reaction times, speech, balance, and even hearing will deteriorate.
  • 0.10%: As we reach this BAC, reaction times and control will be reduced further. Your speech will be slurred, you think slower, and your coordination becomes poor.
  • 0.15%: Getting up to twice the legal driving limit now. You will have much less control over your balance and voluntary muscles. We have all seen someone who finds walking and talking difficult after a lot of alcohol. Falling and injuring yourself is a real possibility now.

How many glasses of alcoholic wine to get drunk?

We near the end of the calculations now. How many glasses of alcoholic wine ( of 12% ABV) does the average adult need to drink to get to a BAC of 0.08% and be “drunk” under the law?

The CDC states that the average 160lb adult male will need to drink 4 standard drinks, wine here, to get to a BAC of 0.08% and be drunk.

Many variables change how quickly your BAC will rise or fall. Age, sex, weight, overall health and your past drinking experience or tolerance to alcohol all play huge parts. It is notoriously difficult to predict this.

For ease, i will continue to work with the CDC 160lb adult male and his 4 standard drinks to get drunk, even tho I’m 230lb!

How many glasses of alcohol free wine to get drunk?

If you need to drink 4 glasses of a standard wine to get drunk and 240 glasses of an alcohol free wine equals one glass of a standard wine, you will therefore need to drink 960 glasses of alcohol free wine to get drunk.

Over how long would you need to drink them?

The kicker to drinking 960 glasses of alcohol free wine is, you don’t have all day to do it, the clock is ticking.

As soon as you swallow your first drink, the alcohol in the wine gets into the blood via the intestines and goes to your liver where it starts to be metabolised, lowering your BAC.

You only have a short period of time to drink the 960 glasses of wine. After around 2 hours, your liver will have the upper hand and will be able to keep your BAC concentration below 0.08% and the legal level for being drunk.

This leads us nicely to the last question…

Can you get drunk drinking alcohol free wine?

Can you get drunk drinking alcohol free wine?

To get drunk, you need to drink x960 5fl oz glasses of alcohol free wine in less than 2 hrs.

This equals 4800fl oz of alcohol free wine, 35 gallons of alcohol free wine or about 190 bottles of alcohol free wine.

To look at it a different way, you will have to drink a 5fl oz glass of non alcoholic wine, every 7.5 seconds, for 2 hours, to get drunk. That really is not possible.

It is just not physically possible to drink 4800fl oz of alcohol free wine in 2 hours, so it is not possible to get drunk on alcohol free wine.

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