What time is your wine o’ clock?

It seems that wine is fast overtaking tea as women’s relaxant of choice.

In fact, the charity Alcohol Concern is so worried about the “wine o’clock” culture among middle-class mothers, it warns that many are risking their health and passing their habits on to their children.

Here eight women reveal their personal “wine o’clock”.


Leah Hardy, 52, lives in London and is mom to Henry, 13, and Cecily, 10.

My absolute favourite time to have a drink – just the one – might seem a little early to some. For me, the ultimate indulgence is an ice-cold, early lunchtime glass of Kir, the quintessential French cocktail of white wine and blackcurrant liqueur.

Ideally I would be sipping it at a pavement cafe on a glorious summer day but on a drizzly London afternoon, my kitchen table will also suffice.

I don’t do it every day, especially not in winter, but to me, a naughtily early kir symbolises that most precious of things; a day without work or responsibilities. If I am feeling particularly frivolous, I might, just might, swap the white wine for champagne.

The first sip of the rosy, fruity liquid floods my body with relaxation. It can’t be the alcohol kicking in immediately, so I know it is purely psychological.

For a few precious moments, I stop worrying about deadlines, housework, or picking up children. Unlike the bottle opened in the evening, it is not there to medicate away the stress of a long and tiring day but instead is pure pleasure.

If I’m drinking early, on an empty stomach, this single glass can be as potent as half a bottle drunk over dinner. This means it must be sipped slowly and yes, the afternoon may be a little hazy, but by evening my body has processed all the alcohol, so I sleep beautifully and wake up bright-eyed – which cannot be said of drinking in the evening.

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