I'm in the 20 to 30 glasses of wine per week category. According to all the modern research I've seen in recent years, if you aren't drinking at least 14 drinks per week, you are limiting your longevity. Many studies indicate a number as high as 28 drinks per week.
Two to three glasses of red wine a night for health for me.
Here's some links and information. I've tracked down the technical papers for only about 4 of these studies, but they all are in general agreement. Moderate drinking every night reduces the risk of heart problems fairly significantly.
After adjustment for other factors, men overall who consumed from one to 28 drinks per week had a reduced risk for all-cause mortality of 14 to 22 percent. For women overall, all-cause mortality rates after adjustment were reduced by 18 percent for those who consumed one to seven drinks per week.
Reference: Maskarinec, G., et al. Alcohol intake, body weight, and mortality in a multiethnic prospective cohort. Epidemiology, 1998, 9(6), 654-661.
The study, which carefully examined the 89,299 men in the Physicians' Health Study over a period of five and one-half years confirms the findings of other research in the United States as well as many countries around the world: those who drink alcohol in moderation tend to live longer than those who either abstain or drink heavily.
Reference: Gaziano, J.M. et al., Light-to-moderate alcohol consumption and mortality in the Physicians' Health Study enrollment cohort. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 35(1), 2000, 96-105.
The moderate consumption of alcohol (beer, wine and liquor) is associated with better health and greater longevity than is either abstinence or the abuse of alcohol.
Reference: Dodson, Roger. Alcohol prevents more deaths than it causes. Independent News (UK) 5-23-04.
The results show that about two (2) years of life are gained by moderate drinkers (1-4 drinks per day) in comparison with occasional and heavy drinkers.
Drinking in moderation, exercising, and not smoking were all found to be associated with greater life expectancy.
Reference: Farchi, G., et al. Alcohol and survival in the Italian rural cohorts of the Seven Countries Study. International Journal of Epidemiology, 2000, 29, 667-671.
It found that the lowest death rate from all causes occurs at the level of one to two drinks per day. That is, moderate drinkers have the greatest longevity.
References: Highlights of the NIAAA position paper on moderate alcohol consumption. Press release from the journal, Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, 6-14-04; Berman, Jessica. Moderate alcohol consumption benefits heart, U.S. government says. Voice of America News, 6-16-04.
A major Australian study has found that abstainers were twice as likely to enter a nursing home as people who were moderate drinkers.
Reference: McCallum, J., et al. The Dubbo Study of the Health of the Elderly 1988-2002: An Epidemiological Study of Hospitaol and Residential Care. Sydney, NSW, Australia: The Australian Health Policy Institute, 2003.
Those who drank and exercised regularly had fewer difficulties with their daily activities and physical functioning.
Reference: Wang, L. et al. Predictors of functional change: a longitudinal study of nondemented people aged 65 and older. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2002, 50(9), 1525-1534
Readings on Alcohol and Longevity
Berger, K., et al. Light-to-moderate alcohol consumption and risk of Stroke among US male physicians. New England Journal of Medicine, 1999, 341(21), 1557-1564.
Blackwelder, W. C., et al. Alcohol and mortality. The Honolulu Heart Study. American Journal of Medicine, 1980, 68(2), 164-169.
Boffetta, P., and Garefinkel, L. Alcohol drinking among men enrolled in an American Cancer Society prospective study. Epidemiology, 1990, 1(5), 42-48.
Brenner, H., et al. The association between alcohol consumption and all-cause mortality in a cohort of male employees in the German construction industry, International Journal of Epidemiology, 1997, 26, 85-91.
Britton, A., and McPherson, K. Mortality in England and Wales attributable to current alcohol consumption. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 2001, 55(6), 383-388.
Cabot, R.C. the relation of alcohol to arterioscleroisis, Journal of the American Medical Association, 1904, 43, 774-775.
Calcoya, M., et al. Alcohol and Stroke: a community case control study in Asturias, Spain. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 1999, 52, 577-684;
Camargo, C. A., et al. Prospective study of moderate alcohol consumption and mortality in US male physicians. Archives of Internal Medicine, 1997, 157, 79-85.
Camargo, C. A., et al. Moderate alcohol consumption and the risk for angina pectoris or myocardial infarction in U.S. male physicians. Archives of Internal Medicine, 1997, 126(5).
Coate, D. Moderate drinking and coronary heart disease mortality: evidence from NHANES I and NHANES I follow-up. American Journal of Public Health, 1993, 83(6), 888-890.
Dairdron, D. M. Cardiovascular effects of alcohol. Western Journal of Medicine, 1989, 151(4), 430-439.
Doll, R., et al. Mortality in relation to consumption of alcohol: 13 years observations on male British doctors. British Medical Journal, 1994, 309, 911-918.
Ellison, R. C. Does Moderate Alcohol Consumption Prolong Life? New York: American Council on Science and Health, 1993.
Farchi, G., et al. Alcohol and survival in the Italian rural cohorts of the Seven Countries Study. International Journal of Epidemiology, 2000, 29, 667-671.
Fuchs, C. S., et al. Alcohol consumption and mortality among women. The New England Journal of Medicine, 1995, 332(19), 1245-1250.
Gronbaek, M., et al. Type of alcohol consumed and mortality from all causes, coronary heart disease, and cancer. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2000, 133(6), 411-419.
Gronbaek, M., et al. Alcohol and mortality: is there a U-shaped relation in elderly people? Age and Aging, 1998, 27(6), 739-744.
Gronbaek, M., et al. Influence of sex, age, body mass index, and smoking on alcohol inytake and mortality, British Medical Journal, 1994, 308, 302-306.
Gronbaek, M., et al. Mortality associated with moderate intakes of wine, beer, or spirits, British Medical Journal, 1995, 310, 1165-1169.
Hennekens, C. H. Alcohol and Risk of Coronary Events. In: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol and the Cardiovascular System. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1996.
Hoffmeister, H., et al. The relationship between alcohol consumption, health indicators, and mortality in the German population. International Journal of Epidemiology, 1999, 28(6), 1066-1072.
Keil, U, et al. The relation of alcohol intake to coronary heart disease and all-cause mortality in a beer drinking population, Epidemiology, 1997, 8(2), 150-156.
Klatsky, A. Alcohol and mortality: a ten year Kaiser Permanente experience, Annals of Internal Medicine, 1981, 95, 139-145.
LaPorte, R. E., Cresanta, J. L., and Kuller, L. H. The relationship of alcohol consumption to atherosclerotic heart disease. Preventive Medicine, 1980, 9, 22-40;
McCallum, J., et al. The Dubbo Study of the Health of the Elderly 1988-2002: An Epidemiological Study of Hospital and Residential Care. 1998, 9, 184-188. Sydney, NSW, Australia: The Australian Health Policy Institute, 2003.
Maskarinec, G., et al. Alcohol intake, body weight, and mortality in a multiethnic prospective cohort. Epidemiology, 1998, 9(6), 654-661.
Moore, R. D., and Pearson, T. A. Moderate alcohol consumption and coronary artery disease. Medicine, 1986, 65, 242-267.
Perdue, L., and Shoemaker, W. The French Paradox and Beyond. Sonoma, CA: Renaissance Publishing, 1992.
Renaud, S., et al. Alcohol and mortality in middle-aged men from Eastern France, Epidemiology,
Rimm, E., et al. Prospective study of alcohol consumption and risk of coronary disease in men. The Lancet. 1991, 338, 464-468.
Rimm, E., et al. Prospective study of cigarette smoking, alcohol use and the risk of diabetes in men. British Medical Journal, 1995, 310, 555-559.
Rimm, E., et al. Moderate alcohol intake and lower risk of coronary heart disease: meta-analysis of effects on lipids and hemostatic factors. British Medical Journal, 1999, 319, 1523-1528.
Rodgers, H., et al. Alcohol and Stroke: a case control study of drinking habits past and present. Stroke, 1993, 12(10), 1473-1477.
Truelsen, T., et al. Intake of beer, wine and spirits and risk of Stroke: the Copenhagen city heart study. Stroke, 1998, 29(12), 2468-2472.
Wang, L. et al. Predictors of functional change: a longitudinal study of nondemented people aged 65 and older. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2002, 50(9), 1525-1534.
Willett, W. C. with the assistance of others. Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001.
Yuan, J-M., et al. Follow up study of moderate alcohol intake and mortality among middle aged men in Shanghai, China. British Medical Journal, 1997, 314, 18-23.