Like so many things in life, when it comes to alcohol, less is more. Here’s how to curb your intake while increasing your enjoyment.

By Real Simple
Updated September 18, 2015
Hero Images/Getty Images
Hero Images/Getty Images

Don’t Include Wine In Your Wind-Down Routine.

“After a long day at work or with the kids, wine is a quick, easy way to switch gears, but it’s not the best,” says Traci Dutton, a wine and beverage instructor at the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in St. Helena, California. “Even for someone who works with wine all day, I’ve come to realize that there are far better ways to de-stress. Personally, I often have a big glass of water and go for a walk. Then, later in the evening when I’m relaxed, I can fully appreciate the flavor and experience of my wine, and I know that I’m drinking for the right reason.”

Use a White-Wine Glass.

You’ll pour roughly 12 percent more in a larger glass than a smaller one without even realizing it, according to a 2013 study from Iowa State University and Cornell University. And, yes, it’s OK to serve an everyday Cabernet or Chianti in a Chardonnay glass. “It won’t negatively impact the taste of most red wines,” says Dutton.

Time Yourself.

As with food, a little ongoing vigilance goes a long way toward reducing consumption. “Aim to make a single drink last at least 45 minutes, and ideally an hour,” says Michael Levy, Ph.D., a psychologist with North Shore Medical Center, in Salem, Massachusetts. As you repeat this process, sipping slowly becomes a reflex, rather than something you can do only with the assistance of a timer on your smartphone.

Stop Worrying About “Wasting” Drinks.

You don’t have to finish every glass of wine you pour or cocktail you’re served. “It’s so hard to get over this instinct, because no one likes to be wasteful or throw money down the drain. But life is too short to drink more than you want to or a beverage you’re not enjoying,” says Dutton. Nor should you feel that you have to empty a bottle of wine the same day you open it. “Most bottles—and this is true even for many sparkling wines—are fine for a day, and sometimes up to a full week if you use a wine stopper and store them in the fridge,” says Dutton.