Standard Drinks

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

standard drinks, unit of measurement used by governments to quantify a normal or regular pour of alcoholic drink by the amount of pure alcohol it contains; also known as a unit of alcohol. Once this has been agreed upon, the theory goes, it is easier for authorities to set safe limits for consumption. There are many stumbling blocks, however, including wide variance among countries with regard to how much alcohol a ‘standard drink’ contains: 14 g in the US, 13.6 g in Canada, 12 g in France, 10 g in Australia and 8 g in the UK. In addition, both standard servings and the average alcoholic strength of wine are greater than when the standards were first set (see health, Sensible drinking). In some countries such as Australia, it is compulsory to state on wine labels the number of standard drinks each bottle contains.