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What do you call someone who drinks a lot of wine?

Wine is an alcoholic beverage that has been consumed for thousands of years. It is made from fermented grape juice and comes in many varieties like red, white, rosé, sparkling, fortified, etc. While wine can be enjoyed in moderation, some people consume more than what is considered healthy or socially acceptable.

What is a wine drinker?

A wine drinker refers to someone who regularly consumes wine. However, there are different levels of wine consumption:

  • Social or occasional wine drinker: Consumes 1-2 glasses of wine on special occasions or with a meal
  • Moderate wine drinker: Consumes 1-2 glasses daily
  • Heavy wine drinker: Consumes more than 3 glasses daily

The moderate consumption of wine is associated with some health benefits like improved heart health and reduced risk of certain cancers. However, heavy wine consumption starts posing health risks like liver damage and dependence.

What do you call someone who drinks a lot of wine?

There are a few terms used for people who consume wine excessively:

Wine lover

This is a polite euphemism for someone who loves drinking wine and consumes it frequently. However, it does not necessarily imply excessive intake. Wine lovers enjoy sampling different varieties and may have an extensive knowledge of wines.

Wine enthusiast

Wine enthusiasts are passionate about wines. They may read wine magazines, take classes on wine tasting, visit vineyards, and have wine cellars. While some enthusiasts drink wine moderately, others may go overboard.


This is a slang term for someone who drinks too much wine, especially cheap wine. It may have a negative connotation implying dependence on wine.


If wine consumption is impacting someone’s personal or professional life, they may be clinically termed an alcoholic. This indicates substance abuse disorder and dependence on the intoxicating effects of wine.

How much wine is too much?

According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, moderate drinking is defined as:

  • Up to 1 drink per day for women
  • Up to 2 drinks per day for men

One drink is equivalent to:

  • 5 oz wine
  • 12 oz beer
  • 1.5 oz distilled spirits

Drinking more than this is considered heavy or excessive intake. The signs of unhealthy wine consumption include:

  • Drinking more than 3 glasses daily for women and 4 for men
  • Inability to limit wine intake
  • Drinking even when inappropriate like early morning or before driving
  • Obsession with wine
  • Hiding wine consumption from others
  • Continuing to drink despite marital, work or legal problems
  • Withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, tremors, nausea and insomnia when sobering up

If someone exhibits these behaviors, they may have an Alcohol Use Disorder.

What are the slang terms for excessive wine drinkers?

Here are some more colloquial phrases used for people who drink too much wine:


As mentioned earlier, this means someone dependent on wine, especially cheap wine or “plonk”.

Juice head

Refers to someone addicted to wine, with “juice” meaning wine.

Barrel scrapper

Indicates a heavy or messy wine drinker who figuratively scrapes out the barrel to get every last drop.


Someone whose head is figuratively full of grape juice instead of brains because of excessive wine consumption.

Vino vulture

Vultures circle around dead animals waiting to feed on them. This compares a heavy wine drinker to a vulture obsessively circling over wine.


A combination of “wine” and “alcoholic,” describing addiction to wine.

Grape juice junkie

A junkie refers to someone dependent on drugs. A “grape juice junkie” is addicted to the alcohol in wine.

Vine vampire

This paints the image of someone obsessively sucking up every last drop of wine from the vine or bottle.

Grape guzzler

Guzzling refers to drinking greedily. Someone who guzzles down grape-based wine.


An old-fashioned term for someone who drinks too much wine, similar to a drunkard.

What are the official medical terms for excessive wine consumption?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association contains official diagnostic criteria for mental health conditions and substance abuse disorders.

These are the relevant terms from the DSM-5:

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

AUD covers both alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. It refers to drinking that causes significant impairment like health problems, inability to fulfill roles, dangerous use and social/interpersonal issues.

Mild AUD requires 2-3 symptoms, while severe AUD has 6 or more symptoms.

Alcohol Dependence

This was previously a distinct disorder but is now folded under AUD. It indicates tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, inability to control consumption, obsession with alcohol and neglect of other activities.

Alcohol Withdrawal

Stopping heavy and prolonged alcohol use can cause withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, tremors, sweating, rapid heart rate, insomnia, nausea, hallucinations, seizures etc.

Alcohol Induced Disorders

Excessive alcohol causes damage to vital organs like liver, pancreas, heart and brain. This can lead to various acute and chronic conditions like:

  • Alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Alcoholic hepatitis
  • Liver fibrosis and cirrhosis
  • Wernicke’s encephalopathy
  • Korsakoff’s psychosis
  • Alcoholic cardiomyopathy
  • Alcoholic gastritis
  • Alcoholic dementia

What health risks are associated with excessive wine consumption?

While moderate intake may have some benefits, drinking too much wine negatively affects health in the following ways:

Liver disease

The metabolites of alcohol are toxic to liver cells, causing damage over time. This can lead to fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis and cirrhosis.


Alcohol causes the pancreas to become inflamed and swollen. This impairs its ability to regulate blood sugar and digestive enzymes.


Chronic heavy drinking increases the risk of mouth, throat, liver, breast and colon cancers.

Heart disease

Excessive wine intake can increase blood pressure, lead to cardiomyopathy and arrhythmias. It also increases the risk of strokes.


Alcohol abuse is associated with Korsakoff’s syndrome and alcoholic dementia resulting in permanent brain damage.

Mental health disorders

Chronic drinking can worsen conditions like depression and anxiety. It also increases the risk of psychosis.


Stopping heavy drinking suddenly can cause severe withdrawal seizures. Long term abuse can also induce epilepsy.

Peripheral neuropathy

Alcohol can damage nerves in the arms and legs, causing pain, numbness and muscle weakness.

Fetal alcohol syndrome

Drinking during pregnancy can cause birth defects like physical deformities, learning disabilities and behavioral problems in the child.


Excess alcohol suppresses the immune system, increasing susceptibility to pneumonia, TB and other infections.

Accidents and injuries

Intoxication impairs judgment and motor coordination, leading to motor vehicle crashes and fall injuries.

Domestic abuse and violence

Alcohol lowers inhibitions making some people aggresssive. It is implicated in a high proportion of violent crimes and domestic violence cases.


Heavy drinkers are at a higher risk of suicide likely due to mental health issues and depression exacerbated by alcohol.

What are the socioeconomic impacts of excessive wine consumption?

Problem drinking does not just harm health, it also has significant social and economic consequences:

Work and school problems

Hangovers, poor concentration and missed days affect performance. Up to 15% of workers may have a drinking problem.


Alcohol abuse increases the risk of losing one’s job due to absenteeism, accidents and incompetence.

Legal issues

Crimes committed under the influence like disorderly conduct, violence, DUIs incur legal penalties. 40% of inmates abused alcohol.

Financial hardship

Health costs, legal fees, loss of income etc. have a huge economic impact on problem drinkers and their families.

Marital conflict

Excessive drinking usually causes relationship problems leading to domestic abuse and divorce.

Impact Statistics
Healthcare costs $249 billion annually in the U.S. from alcohol misuse.
Criminal justice system 41% of inmates were under the influence of alcohol when they committed crimes.
Lost workplace productivity Up to 15% of U.S. workers may have alcohol problems.
Traffic collisions 31% of fatal road accidents involve alcohol intoxication.
Domestic violence Up to 2/3rd of domestic abuse cases involve alcohol abuse by the perpetrator.

What are the treatment options for alcohol dependence and withdrawal?

Quitting alcohol after prolonged excessive use requires medical help to manage serious withdrawal symptoms. Treatment options include:


This involves slowly weaning someone off alcohol under medical supervision. It prevents potentially fatal seizures and delirium tremens.


Drugs like benzodiazepines, anticonvulsants and beta blockers help control withdrawal symptoms. Others like naltrexone and acamprosate help maintain abstinence.

Therapy and counseling

Cognitive behavioral therapy helps change addictive thoughts and behaviors. Support groups provide motivation and peer support.

Rehabilitation programs

Inpatient and outpatient recovery programs offer medical oversight, counseling, life skills training and a supportive environment.

Self-help strategies

Some beneficial techniques include abstaining completely, avoiding triggers, finding alternate activities, tracking progress and attending support group meetings.

How can someone with a wine addiction seek help?

The first step is acknowledging the problem honestly. Next, the following avenues can be explored for help:

  • Talk to one’s doctor for advice and treatment referrals
  • Contact the local health department for information on support groups, addiction counselors and rehab centers
  • Join a 12-step program like Alcoholics Anonymous which provides peer support and a structured recovery model
  • Make an appointment with a mental health professional like a psychologist or licensed alcohol counselor
  • Call the National Alcohol Helpline for guidance and resources
  • Enroll in an outpatient or residential treatment program tailored to individual needs
  • Include family and friends as a support system
  • Make lifestyle changes to avoid triggers, relieve stress and focus on health

Recovery is an ongoing process requiring commitment and patience. But taking that first step can eventually lead to healthier and happier outcomes.


While most people can enjoy the occasional glass of wine, some go overboard and drink excessively. This not only causes individual health issues, but also wider social harms. Recognizing unhealthy consumption levels and honestly seeking help is important. With proper treatment and support, it is possible to overcome alcohol addiction and regain control of one’s life. Moderation and mindfulness should be the key principles guiding wine intake.