How Many Glasses Of Non Alcoholic Wine To Get Drunk? Can you even?

The new breed of non alcoholic wines are gaining in popularity every year. All the big brands have non alcoholic ranges and this is set to grow. However, there are questions surrounding them and one of the biggest questions anyone new to the space is asking is “how many glasses of non alcoholic wine to get drunk?”

This is far from a silly question. Non alcoholic wines are designed to look, taste and are marketed like every alcoholic wine you will buy. If you never take some time out to think about how many glasses of one it might take to get drunk, it might not have occurred to you.

How many non alcoholic wines to get drunk?

The CDC says the average 160lb adult male needs to drink x4 5fl oz glasses of 12% ABV wine to get drunk. x24 0.5% ABV glasses of non alcoholic wine equals one standard 12% glass of wine so you would need to drink x96 non alcoholic glasses of wine to get drunk. These would have to be drank over a 1-2 hr period as your body is constantly metabolising the alcohol.

How much alcohol is in a glass non alcoholic wine?

“Non alcoholic” can mean a few different things, especially where in the world you are. It can sometimes be used as a sort of catch all term for all low alcohol wines or all wines with an ABV of less than 0.5%.

A non alcoholic wine can have an ABV of anywhere from 0.05% to 0.5% but the majority are amassed towards the 0.5% ABV level.

The labelling can be confusing along with the terms, this can be intentional. In the EU for example, they are allowed to label 0.5% wines, beers and spirits as “alcohol free” and not “non alcoholic”.

The only safe way to know what alcohol is in a bottle is to look for the actual numerical value of the ABV, not trust any descriptive terms.

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?

In order to do the math and multiplication needed, we need to know what a standard wine is and what ABV it has. Luckily the USDA has done just that. They have defined a standard wine as having 12% alcohol by volume and a fluid volume of 5fl oz.

The calculations are a bit tricky but not too bad. One glass of alcoholic wine equals 24 glasses of non alcoholic wine.

They have called these drinks, standard wine, beer, spirit etc as the standard wine of 5fl oz and 12% alcohol will give you 14g of alcohol (0.6 ounces). This amount of alcohol is then applied to other volumes to get different standard ABV concentrates for other drinks…

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

How many glasses of non alcoholic wine equals one wine?

The USDA go on to say that white, red and sparkling wines have different average alcohol contents so to see how many glasses of non alcoholic wine equals those you can read my article on it here.

Their “standard wine” is different from their average red etc, so i will be working from their standard wine numbers.

A glass of non alcoholic wine has 0.5% alcohol by volume and a standard alcoholic wine (according to the USDA) has 12% alcohol by volume. Therefore, you would need to drink 24 glasses of non alcoholic wine of the same volume to equal one glass of alcoholic wine of the same volume (in terms of alcohol) – a glass being defined as 5fl oz.

What is the legal definition of “drunk”?

Now we just need to find an actual definition of what being drunk is. Its not just a finger in the air or heel toe walk test.

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?

This is the business end now of the calculations. 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 classed as legally drunk?

The CDC tells us that the average 160lb adult male will need to drink 4 standard drinks, in our example wine, to get to a BAC of 0.08%.

So many things can 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 very hard to generalise it to everyone, even everyone of a specific weight.

We will continue to work with the CDC 160lb adult male and his 4 standard drinks to get drunk.

How many glasses of non alcoholic wine to get drunk?

If you need to drink 4 glasses of a standard wine to get drunk and 24 glasses of a non alcoholic wine equals one glass of a standard wine, you will therefore need to drink 96 glasses of non alcoholic wine to get drunk.

Over how long would you need to drink them?

The big issue with needing to drink 96 glasses of non alcoholic wine is, you don’t have hours and hours to do it.

When you start drinking, the alcohol in the wine gets into the blood via the intestines and makes its way to the liver where it starts to be broken down and lowering your BAC.

You therefore have a very time limited period to drink the 96 glasses of non alcoholic wine. Anything after 2 hours and 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 non alcoholic wine?

Can you get drunk drinking non alcoholic wine?

To get drunk, you need to drink x96 5fl oz glasses of non alcoholic wine in less than 2 hrs.

This equals 480fl oz of non alcoholic wine, 3.5 gallons of non alcoholic wine or about 19 bottles of non alcoholic wine

The other way to look at it is you will have to drink a 5fl oz glass of non alcoholic wine, every 75 seconds, for 2 hours, to get drunk. Good luck!

It is not possible to drink 480fl oz of non alcoholic wine in 2 hours, so it is not possible to get drunk on non alcoholic wine.

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