Debunking the Wine Detox


Photo by Monica silva

During the holidays, we’re all encouraged to eat, drink, and be merry. Then, in January, we’re made to feel guilty about our gluttony and relaxation. Suddenly, Oprah is everywhere pawning Weight Watchers and the charming seasonal alcohol ads are nowhere to be seen. Last year—despite making a living in the alcohol business—I succumbed to the pressure and did a January detox. It didn’t include lemon juice and cayenne pepper, nor a respite from sugar, carbs, fatty foods, etc. My husband and I decided to quit drinking for 31 days. I’ve never intentionally accomplished such a feat except for when I was pregnant, when cinnamon rolls won out over wine anyhow.

When I told wine colleagues, friends, and family about our detox, they were horrified. I think they were honestly concerned I’d lost my marbles, my natural cynicism, and had gone mainstream. Our kids were aghast as I’d recently turned the oldest into my “will you pour me a touch more wine” go-to girl, and they actually seem to enjoy my Cliff Clavin spouting of wine tidbits.

The 31 days were pure agony. I slept like hell. I desperately missed cooking with wine while drinking wine, chugging wine while my husband downloaded his work day on me, cracking open a bottle after a cold, dark soccer practice with 13 13-year-olds. Football playoffs paired with barbecue, but no wine? Watching buzzed celebrities at the Golden Globes, but having no sparkling wine of my own? It BLOWS.

According to recent media reports, wine is great for our hearts, but will give us skin cancer and shrink our brains. Apparently, wine is killing us AND making us healthy and beautiful.

So, was I lighter and brighter after 31 sober days? Admittedly, my cheeks were less rosy and my face a bit less puffy. But, my nightly Nyquil dose doubled and my kettle chip intake quadrupled. So, I declared straight away I wasn’t going to detox again this January, though my husband is doing so. I figure it’s more important that I attempt to maintain my “nice mommy” perspective—and wine is vital in that effort. And, I told him it would be bad for business anyhow, to which I got an eye roll.

However, I don’t want to flaunt my imbibing while he savors his glass of milk, so I’ve taken to late-night drinking with Scott Van Pelt and Andy Cohen. In my glass last night was a 2016 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and a 2012 Columbia Crest Columbia Valley Red Blend. I found both on silly sale (Columbia Crest for $7 and Villa Maria for $9) tucked behind a point-of-purchase display at Albertsons. I was there to get my husband more milk.

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