I’ll be honest with you: I’m a huge red wine drinker; living in a French part of Canada means that drinking wine with dinner is almost more common than water. That said, we typically only drink it as a happy hour treat, if it’s not with dinner. It’s served alongside a baguette or grilled vegetables before dinner, something commonly referred to as “apéro.”
All that to say, when my editor approached me with the idea of drinking a glass of wine every day, I happily accepted the ‘challenge.’ Compared to some of the other things I’ve done for the sake of journalism, like giving up coffee for a week, this seemed like a walk in the park—and it was, until the novelty cooled off.
Day 1: Let’s open a bottle of the good stuff.
When I told my partner about my assignment, he suggested we use it as an excuse to open one of the bottles we’ve been saving. We have a 200-bottle wine fridge that’s full of wine we’ve brought back from Europe and Australia so selecting the bottle was no small feat! We ended up choosing a bottle from Bichi, a natural red wine producer in Mexico.
We opened the bottle and savored a glass as we made dinner, and then switched to water with our meal. So far, it looks like a typical night at home.
Day 2: Happy hour is from four to six.
Combine a mandatory glass of wine each day with the novel coronavirus pandemic (I haven’t left my home in 14 days!), and happy hour starts bleeding into the afternoon. We poured our glass of wine at 4:30pm and savored every sip.
At this point, I haven’t noticed anything particularly different, but I have been enjoying the social aspect of taking a break with my partner and catching up with a little dose of wine.
Day 3: Another day, another bottle.
By day three, we had already finished off our first bottle from our trip to Mexico. This time, I decided to opt for a bottle of natural red that I picked up in France last month.
I’ve really been enjoying opening bottles that I picked up around the world—it fostered a sense of nostalgia for a time when we weren’t stuck in the house, and having a scheduled break time for something like a glass of wine added a sense of whimsy and connection to our otherwise mundane daily schedules.
Day 4: Alright, digital happy hours are dangerous.
By the fourth day, I had settled nicely into taking time out of the evening to pause and have a drink with my partner—but then a few friends invited me to partake in a ‘digital happy hour’ on Zoom. I tried to nurse my single glass of red, but ended up opening a bottle of rosé I had chilling in my fridge from a few weeks ago… and drinking most of it (with the help of my partner).
I definitely prefer the idea of sipping on a single glass while engaging in conversation or playing a game of chess with my partner, but sometimes free pouring wine and catching up with a group of friends can be just as therapeutic.
Day 5: Is it chilly in here?
By the last day, I had an unsurprising mild hangover but I also noticed my body cooling off in the evening—by the end of the night, I was wrapped in a blanket on my couch and even started wearing slippers around the house (something I never usually do). After doing a bit of research, I found out that consistently sipping alcohol can actually make you feel cold, rather than warm.
According to Healthline, alcohol is a ‘vasodilator,’ which essentially means it opens your blood vessels and capillaries under the surface of your skin. At first, it may make you feel warm (like when your cheeks get pink after a drink or two) but as the warm blood moves away from the surface of your body, it can cause your core body temperature to drop below what it was before you started drinking. It’s not dangerous, but if you already run cold, like me, it can be uncomfortable.
That said, despite having to throw on a blanket at the end of the night, I enjoyed the overall experience of pouring a glass of wine at the end of each day. There’s extensive research that suggests a daily glass of red lowers the risk of heart disease, and that’s enough for me to guiltlessly pour a glass before dinner. While I don’t plan on continuing a regimented wine-sipping schedule, I won’t hesitate to indulge when I’m in the mood for a good glass of red.