What is a Standard Drink?

Know what a standard drink is to understand how much alcohol you are drinking. Practice measuring out the exact amounts in a glass before you drink.

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

  • Alcohol content
  • Serving size by volume

The volume poured and the percentage 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.

Not all Glasses of Wine are Equal 

In Canada, one standard drink of wine at 12% alcohol is 142 ml (5 oz), but often restaurants and bars will offer 171 ml (6 oz) or 256 ml (9 oz) for table wines, and usually smaller 85 ml (3 oz) for higher alcohol content fortified wines.

Drinking & Your Health

Drinking wine in moderation can be part of a healthy lifestyle that also includes a good diet and regular exercise. Moderation when consuming food and wine is recommended, but your daily caloric intake should also be considered.

Calories vary from wine to wine, and the exact number of calories will depend both on the alcohol and sugar content in the wine selected.

  • The more sugar there is in the grape juice, the more alcohol there will be in the wine.
  • The more sugar there is in the wine, the higher the caloric content of the wine.

Tips for Drinking in Moderation

Excessive drinking can have harmful impacts on your health, and relationships with family, friends, and colleagues.

  • Wine tastes better in moderation, so take your time ­— sip, savour and enjoy!
  • Every wine is a unique combination of colour, smell and taste, so drink slowly, enjoy the moment, and pace yourself.
  • Try wines with lower alcohol content.
  • Pairing wine with food is a natural combination and enhances the experience. Eat before and while you are enjoying your wine.
  • Set your wine consumption limits, keep track (per day and per week), and stick to them to help moderate your alcohol consumption.
  • Drink slowly no more than 2 standard drinks in any 3 hours.
  • When you drink, stay hydrated and alternate between wine and water or other non-alcoholic beverages.

Following Low Risk Drinking Guidelines can help you support a balanced and healthy lifestyle!