'Not drinking during the day is a good rule'
Dr Eilis Cryan delights in a glass of wine three or four evenings a week – but she also treats patients who are suffering serious health problems because of alcohol use.
Dr Cryan, a gastroenterologist at the Bon Secours Hospital in Galway, says that "alcohol is very enjoyable and pleasurable in moderation. But only in moderation and that is where a lot of people fall down".
She points out that when many people drink wine, they are imbibing for the alcohol and "they miss out on most of the pleasure wine offers. Wine is for savouring".
Dr Cryan, who has a diploma in wine from the London-based WSET, is also involved in distributing good South African wines through her company Kinnegar Wines to top-class eateries, including Ashford Castle and celebrity chef Neven McGuire's Blacklion restaurant.
"I have my diploma up in my doctor's waiting room.
"Alcohol consumption comes up in virtually every patient consultation and I feel the diploma certificate often helps to facilitate a more open discussion."
She does not drink wine every night but when she does she pours a glass of only 80ml-100ml.
"A fairly standard pour for a glass in restaurants and bars would be 175ml – at 13.5pc strength. This is 2.4 units of alcohol which is quite substantial."
She always tries to focus on moderate alcohol content in wine.
"I am fussy about the glass and its shape. There are some glasses you could nearly put a whole bottle of wine in. Go for a smaller glass – it's safer.
"Never drinking during the day is a sensible rule of thumb idea. It is a dangerous habit."
Dr Cryan said she would always have a glass of water alongside her wine glass.
"Have a one for one, or a two for one water and wine. Your wine glass will not empty as fast. If I have water, it does some of my drinking for me."
Dr Cryan said she would prefer to spend more on a bottle of wine and drink less.
"You can abuse anything and it is unfair to tar everything with the same brush. Tobacco use is always bad for your health, while strictly modest alcohol intake is not."