How Long Does Wine Stay in Your System?

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Wine Stay In Your SystemThere is a wide range of factors that can have an impact on how long alcohol stays in our urine. While this will vary from one person to another, there is a general rule that applies to everyone. Here, we answer the question, “How long does wine stay in your system” while addressing other concerns you might have about blood alcohol content.  

How Alcohol Affects the Body

Our bodies have many different ways for the absorption of alcohol as well as the elimination of it. This begins in the stomach, but most alcohol will be absorbed into our bloodstream through the small intestine, which then travels over to our liver. Most of the alcohol we drink (around 90% to 95%) is broken down by liver enzymes but a healthy liver is needed for this process to take place. 

Moreover, 2% to 5% of alcohol is excreted from the body without any changes through urine, sweat, and breath. This is because the body’s alcohol metabolism oxidizes the ethanol (the main ingredient in alcohol) into acetaldehyde (by using alcohol dehydrogenase) and then into acetic acid and further breaks it down to water and carbon dioxide. While the resulting alcohol metabolites aren’t harmful to us, and neither is the actual alcohol, the resulting metabolites (acetaldehyde) are the main reason why we experience hangovers.    

When the alcohol reaches the stomach, 20% is absorbed into our small blood vessels and then distributed around the body. The rest of the alcohol will go through the small bowel to be transported all over the body, which is why it impacts various body systems. Unfortunately, the liver takes the most damage from long-term abuse and excessive alcohol consumption; as a result, liver disease and liver failure are common in people who drink too much alcohol. 

Detecting Alcohol in Urine

Our body will only excrete a small amount of alcohol through urination (around 1% to 2%). In as little as an hour, the ethanol in alcohol can be detected in our urine and will be detectable for as long as 12 hours. Even so, this may differ based on various factors depending on the individual. 

Can a Drug Test Detect Alcohol? 

Yes, alcohol can be detected depending on the type of test given — those that are specifically designed to check for their presence will be able to trace it. In general, alcohol isn’t checked during drug tests that are administered for employment purposes. However, specific cases such as accidents with legal or workplace reasons may need alcohol checks. 

Testing Methods for Alcohol 

There are 4 primary methods to test for the presence of alcohol, which include the following: 

  • Breath Tests: Also known as a breathalyzer test, these devices are highly portable and easy to use, making them popular with law enforcement. 
  • Blood Tests: This is the most accurate way to test for someone’s blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC), but is more complex and will need medical professionals to perform. 
  • Saliva Tests: These are best done to determine if someone has consumed alcohol rather than measure their BAC. However, they’re less practical compared to the first two tests. 
  • Urine Tests: This will involve giving a urine sample and is only used when every other form of testing is unavailable. It won’t give an accurate BAC but it will be able to indicate whether a person has consumed alcohol up to 72 hours later, which is longer than most other kinds of testing.  

Factors that Affect Alcohol Detection

There are plenty of different factors that affect how a person processes and absorbs alcohol, which also results in how long it can be detectable in your urine. 

Gender and Body Fat

Our bodies use dehydrogenase, an enzyme that metabolizes alcohol inside the liver, but women will have lower levels of this enzyme compared to men, which can also affect their BAC. Furthermore, women will have a higher ratio of body fat to muscle as well as less body water compared to men — this will also impact their BAC. As a result, women tend to become more intoxicated compared to men even if they consume the same amount of alcohol.   


Older adults will often become intoxicated faster compared to younger people, due to age-related changes inside their bodies, which is completely normal. These changes include less water weight, loss of body tissues, and a slower metabolism. 

Type of Alcohol Consumed 

Drinks with higher levels of alcohol or those that have greater alcohol by volume (ABV) percentages are more quickly absorbed by our bodies. This can result in a greater blood-alcohol concentration and a higher level of intoxication. An increase in absorption can take place with sparkling or carbonated drinks, like liquor mixed with sodas and champagne as a result of an increase of pressure inside the intestine and stomach because of carbonation. 

Having an Empty Stomach

Having something to eat before having an alcoholic drink can help to slow down its effects on our body. But drinking on an empty stomach will allow it to quickly intoxicate the body, which can happen as fast as 30 minutes after taking a drink, depending on how much you drink. Fortunately, eating food items with lots of protein can help to reduce how much alcohol our body absorbs, so it can be easier to manage the negative effects of alcohol.   

An Individual’s Alcohol Tolerance

Some people will have bodies that can process alcohol better than others due to their genes. When certain liver enzymes don’t work properly, the body won’t be able to do its job properly, which can cause higher acetaldehyde levels — this can cause people to feel unwell after a number of drinks. Other uncomfortable side effects include red skin, a flushed face, hot sensations, dizziness, heart palpitations, nausea, and vomiting. 

Mental and Physical Health

Anxiety, depression, and alcohol never mix well; while small amounts of an alcoholic beverage can give us feelings of brief euphoria, alcohol abuse can negatively impact a person’s mood. This is even more true for people who are already struggling with their mental health. Moreover, people who have existing health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, kidney problems, heart problems, or liver damage may also feel their alcohol’s effect more than others. 

Compared to an average healthy person, people who suffer from the health conditions above may process alcohol at a slower rate. The reason for this is often the interaction between alcohol and the medications used for managing such conditions. Moreover, their body may also struggle to process alcohol intake as a result of their liver condition.  

How Accurate Are Alcohol Urine Tests?

While taking a urine test isn’t the only way to check if someone has alcohol in their system, it’s an affordable and less invasive method of finding out if they’ve consumed alcohol over a specific length of time. When it comes to alcohol detection using a urine test, it can be identified for as long as 5 days after consumption. However, this test isn’t as accurate compared to other methods like breathing which can be exhaled every 3 to 5 seconds, while urine can be done once every few hours. 

As such, anyone can drink alcohol and allow time for it to metabolize and reach a legal level before they provide a urine sample that won’t catch the original blood alcohol level which could’ve been higher. Apart from this, there are also times when alcohol urine tests can be wrong because it contains sugar. When combined with bladder infections, sugar can ferment and make alcohol inside the bladder, which can result in a false positive even if you didn’t drink an ounce of alcohol. 

What is an EtG Test?

An ethyl glucuronide (EtG) test is a kind of urine test that works differently; instead of directly looking for alcohol, this will look for a byproduct from alcohol known as EtG. This substance is detectable in our urine for as long as 80 hours, making the test more accurate and sensitive to even small amounts of alcohol. However, it’s important to remember that a positive result from this test can also happen to people who may not drink alcohol but use mouthwash and other products that contain alcohol. 

Things to Avoid When Taking a Drug Test

There are a few products that come with trace levels of alcohol, which may contribute to a false positive when taking an EtG urine test. If you’re set to participate in an EtG test, here are a few products for you to avoid: 

  • Cleaning products
  • Alcohol-based sanitizers
  • Mouthwashes 
  • Breath sprays
  • Aftershaves
  • Hair dyes
  • Cosmetics
  • Antiperspirants
  • Any food with trace amounts of alcohol

Anything that contains trace amounts of alcohol can result in a false positive in the EtG test, even if you only use it outside of your body. 

How Long Does Wine Stay in Your System?

Alcohol addiction can have severe consequences; for instance, failing your alcohol test for work or operating vehicles while intoxicated can significantly impact various aspects of your life. The best way to clear alcohol out of your system is to seek professional medical advice to discuss treatment options. Moreover, anyone going through substance abuse and suffering withdrawal symptoms can greatly benefit from a treatment center or a recovery village.