Written by: Tim Edison

Updated: May 11, 2023

Does Wine Make You Thirsty And Dehydrate You?

Does Wine Make You Thirsty And Dehydrate You?

One of the main questions wine lovers have is, does wine make you thirsty and dehydrate you?

Long story short, yes. Just like any other alcoholic drink, wine can make you thirsty and also lead to dehydration. Alcohol is considered a toxin when consumed in large amounts. According to research, too much alcohol can lead to brain impairment.

This forces the brain to send too many impulses to the kidneys. This effect gives you an urge to urinate more frequently thus losing large amounts of water. Thirst and dehydration are caused by the excessive loss of water. Dehydration presents itself in the form of dry mouth, tiredness due to lack of energy and dry eyes.

All alcoholic drinks are dehydrating drinks which when ingested absorb a lot of the water that has been retained in the body. Wine interferes with the functionality of the body as far as water retention is concerned.

Wine triggers the de-activation of the anti-diuretic hormone and with the production of ADH, a hormone responsible for the reabsorption of water in the body.

Dehydration Effects of Wine

Excessive drinking of wine may make you sick and result in vomiting. This causes the body to lose fluids and can lead to dehydration. The loss of electrolytes in the body can also cause dehydration.

Wine consumers tend to sweat a lot as they drink because the body uses a lot of energy trying to break down the contents of the wine. The liver is the body organ that cleans the blood to eliminate toxins such as alcohol. During this process, a lot of energy is utilized and hence the excessive sweating. A lot of water is lost in sweat thus causing dehydration.

The percentage of alcohol in wine determines the net dehydration. Most wine drinks have an alcohol percentage of less than 10%. This means that you will have to consume more wine to feel ‘drunk.’

However, the undiluted wine has a higher alcoholic concentration, usually higher than 11%. The more wine you drink, the more water use. Please note that wine doesn’t have a lot of water that it can supply to the body. This means that it uses the retained water in the body and hence the dehydration.

The level of dehydration also varies from person to person. It is therefore critical that you understand how your body reacts to wine consumption. Wine inhibits the processing of vasopressin hormone whose major role is water retention. This hormone works by constricting the blood vessels in the body. Therefore, less blood flows to the kidneys. Wine interferes with the functionality of this hormone. Therefore, the blood vessels dilate, and more blood flows to the kidneys. This increases the urge to urinate and hence excessive loss of water.

Are you constantly drinking wine? It is very important that you put a glass of water beside you as you go on that drinking spree. According to research, a glass of wine can lead to loss of water triple the amount of the wine consumed. Therefore for every glass of wine, it is advisable to take up to 500ml of water.

Sleeping immediately after consumption of wine is also not advisable. This is because the brain does not get enough time to restore its functionality. Therefore, the person tends to sleep for long hours and in the process, sweat a lot losing a lot of water.

Symptoms of Dehydration and Thirst

Wine dehydration may not seem serious, but it has its side effects. When the body loses water, severe headaches are experienced. Dizziness is also a symptom of dehydration since the body lacks enough fluids to keep you going.

Lightheadedness may also be experienced, and intake of water helps restore the body to full functionality. However, the dizziness may take a while to disappear. It is advisable not to ignore a “cotton mouth” since it may be a sign of dehydration.

Wine dehydration may also make you feel tired or fatigued.  Most people don’t realize when they are dehydrated, and they may go ahead and take more wine. This may lead to severe dehydration and hence posing threats to their health.

While drinking wine always be proactive of the effects caused by dehydration.

However, all is not lost since research has found out that the body has a compensation mechanism for the dehydration effect. Consuming lots of wine triggers the brain cells responsible for thirst effect. This increases your urge to consume more water and hence replacing the fluids lost as a result of wine consumption. When taking wine, start by drinking a glass of water. Keep alternating between a glass of wine and water and any other non-alcoholic drink.

Preventing Dehydration from Wine

Drinking wine on an empty stomach is not advisable since some food components have a lot of fluids that can compensate for the loss of water. A high percentage of water is derived from the foods that you eat and therefore when drinking ensure to eat succulent foods such as watermelon and cucumbers that are comprised of 90% water.

This will help you acquire the levels of water the body requires to compensate for the water loss due to wine. Eat more fruits and vegetable to supply you with water and the necessary minerals required by the body to prevent dehydration.

It is advisable for binge wine drinker to regularly seek nutritional advice and tests. Loss of water in the body leads to the loss of important minerals like zinc, sodium, iron, potassium, and magnesium.

These minerals play a major role in the prevention of dehydration, and their deficiency will cause an impact on your body. Therefore, frequent nutritional checks will help you to determine your mineral deficiency and help prevent severe dehydration.

The alcoholic components of wine cause thirst due to a hormone in the liver communicating with the brain. This stimulates the thirst hormone and hence the increased urge to consume water after a glass or two of wine.

Sweet wines have a lot of sugar components that are digested and then absorbed into the bloodstream. The sugar in the blood triggers the release of absorbed water in the cells to the bloodstream to balance the blood components with the sugar.

When the cells lose water, signals are received in the brain to activate a feeling or urge to drink water. When drinking sweet wine, one becomes thirsty pretty fast since breakdown and absorption of sugar into the bloodstream occurs rapidly.

Wine does make you thirsty and dehydrated by confusing the hypothalamus not to detect the osmotic pressure of the body. Wine consumption triggers the sending of ‘fake’ signals to the osmoreceptors in the brain that there is low osmotic pressure in the bloodstream. This, therefore, prevents the release of the anti-diuretic hormone to perform its functions. This then deactivates the kidneys function of reabsorbing as much water as needed by the body thus causing dehydration.


The human body requires a lot of water for it to function normally. Water is also responsible for the balance and maintenance of the normal body temperatures. While water acts as a coolant, wine increases energy in the body leading to increased temperatures. This leads to excessive sweating which will then lead to dehydration. Water being a coolant restores the body temperature and hence prevents dehydration.

Alcohol gets absorbed in the body very easily than water, therefore, disrupting the hydration processes in the body. This makes it hard for the body to function normally as far as excretion of alcohol from the body is concerned.

As you can see, water plays a very significant role in our bodies. It is therefore crucial that you consume sufficient amount of water to ensure that the body functionality is restored. This will make it easy for the body to flush out wine materials from the bloodstream.

While drinking wine, ensure to take only the amount your body can handle. Do not drink too much or else risk experiencing severe dehydration that might later pose a health threat to the body.

Although we all love wine, it is obvious that wine can lead to dehydration. It is therefore crucial that you consider these factors every time you think of consuming too much wine. The choice of wine also differs on the effect of dehydration that they can cause to the body.  Go easy on colored wine drinks than the white wines.


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About the Author Tim Edison

Tim started Wine Turtle way back in 2015.
These days he contributes to Wine Turtle (and other renowned wine publications) while continuing his wine education.
Tim's wine of the month is the Coates & Seely Reserve Brut NV (from Hampshire, England).

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