Mediterranean diet is one of the few diets that allow moderate alcohol consumption. However, not all alcohol is allowed. Wine, in particular, is an important part of Mediterranean-style cuisine.
For people who are just starting with the Mediterranean diet, it is often unclear what type and how much wine they can drink.
In this article, we look into the answers of these questions, explain what a Mediterranean diet is, and delve deeper into the health effects associated with alcohol consumption.
Let’s get started!
What is a Mediterranean diet?
Generally, the Mediterranean diet is typical for Italy, Greece, France, and Spain: the countries surrounding the Mediterranean sea.
Mediterranean diet food list
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
- Fish and seafood poultry (twice weekly)
- Dairy foods (in moderation)
- Lean meat (occasionally)
- Vegetable oils (primarily olive oil)
Processed foods, refined sugars, and fatty cuts of meat should be limited on the Mediterranean diet.
The following health benefits are associated with Mediterranean diet adherence in the long run :
- Reduced inflammation
- Balanced blood sugar levels
- Lower Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Weight loss
- Lower risk of metabolic syndrome
- Lower risk of heart disease and stroke
- Lower risk of type 2 diabetes
- Improved cognitive function
Can you drink wine on the Mediterranean diet?
In short, YES, you can drink wine in moderation if you follow the Mediterranean diet. Keep in mind that the “Mediterranean way of drinking” is moderate, regular wine consumption together with food: typical dishes to be consumed are rich in vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and other plant foods. 
Is drinking wine good for you?
Wine is a complex alcoholic beverage. It contains various antioxidant compounds :
- Flavonols (myricetin and quercetin)
Evidence suggests the following health effects of moderate wine consumption as part of the Mediterranean diet      :
- Increased longevity
- Antioxidant effect
- Reduced inflammation
- Lower risk of cancer development
- Slight increase in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol)
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Prevention of diabetes complications
- Reduced risk of osteoporosis
- Reduced risk of neurological diseases
- Improved insulin sensitivity
- Lower risk of blood clots
- Reduction in blood pressure levels
Mediterranean diet: how much wine?
Talking about the number of drinks, the general understanding is that 1 drink = about 15 ounces of wine. 
What kind of wine is ok on the Mediterranean diet?
Here is a list of popular red wine types to include in Mediterranean diet:
- Pinot Noir
However, if you are not a fan of red wine, you may include white wine in your Mediterranean-style menu. Here’s a list of white wine types to drink on Mediterranean diet:
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Pinot Grigio
What happens when you drink too much wine?
Drinking more than 1 glass of wine a day as a woman, or more than 2 glasses as a man, likely means you are adhering to a Mediterranean diet. In fact, evidence suggests that drinking more than 3 glasses of wine daily could increase blood pressure.  This means that wine overconsumption could negatively affect the health conditions and biomarkers that moderate wine consumption benefits.
Furthermore, heavy drinking may lead to serious health issues  :
- Liver diseases: alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis
- Cardiomyopathy (damage of heart muscle)
- Cancer: mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, breast, liver, colon, and rectum
Who shouldn’t drink wine?
According to the CDC, the following groups of people should not drink any alcohol, including wine  :
- Under legal age for drinking
- Taking medications interacting with alcohol
- Recovering from alcohol disorder
Besides, the authorities advise people who currently don’t drink alcohol NOT to start drinking.