Communicating standard drink information helps in monitoring personal alcohol consumption. Lack of knowledge about standard drinks can preclude people from engaging in responsible drinking practices, even if they are aware of drinking guidelines and motivated to monitor and regulate their alcohol consumption.

What is a Standard Drink?

If you understand what a standard drink looks like, you will better understand the Right Amount.

In Canada, a standard drink refers to 13.6 grams of alcohol, and depends on a number of factors including:

  • What you are drinking — alcohol, cider, beer, or spirit
  • Alcohol content by volume
  • Serving size by volume

The volume poured and the percentage of alcohol will determine the number of standard drinks consumed. Simply put, the higher the alcohol content, the smaller the pour size of a standard drink.

Suggested serving size in the Low Risk Drinking Guidelines is 142 ml (5 oz), but often restaurants and bars will offer 177 ml (6 oz) or 266 ml (9 oz) for table wines, and usually smaller 85 ml (3 oz) for fortified wines.

One standard drink =

85 ml (3 oz) glass of 20% fortified wine

114 ml (4 oz) glass of 15% table wine

142 ml (5 oz) glass of 12% table wine

171 ml (6 oz) glass of 10% table wine

256 ml (9 oz) glass of 6.7% table wine

Each of these drinks contains the same amount of alcohol.

Recognizing a standard drink

Understanding what constitutes a standard drink can help you make informed decisions regarding your personal wine consumption and establish responsible drinking practices.

1.8 standard drinks (256 ml (9 oz) glass of 12% wine)

1.2 standard drinks (171 ml (6 oz) glass of 12% wine)

1 standard drink (142 ml (5 oz) glass of 12% wine)

Plan non-drinking days every week and stay within your weekly limits.