The Wine O’clock Myth is a powerful book that takes an in-depth look into women’s drinking habits. Written through the lens of her own turbulent relationship with alcohol and the long journey she has been on to recovery, Lotta Dann asks, “Is it really that treat or reward that we deserve?” The book dives into Big Alcohol (aka the liquor industry), the marketing of their products, our boozy culture and how much it has and still is impacting women.
The book is separated into different parts: our boozy world, what it’s doing to us, how we are being played, what lies beneath and moving on. Within each of these parts Lotta Dann delves into the alarming reasons that play into our culture of alcohol. She starts by exploring the relationship that women have with alcohol, the treat, reward, celebrate and soothe with a glass of wine, along with the bonding agent alcohol is in female friendships. It then moves into the what it’s doing to us part, the ‘not talked about’ dangerous medical and physical impacts that alcohol can have on women - which is disturbing.
It explores the harm being done by Big Alcohol and how women are being played in this industry, the damaging effects of targeting women and selling a ‘wine o’clock’ lifestyle. This was eye opening and frightening to learn that from such a young age, I have been a target of Big Alcohol. In particular, the wine industry selling liquid courage, a glamorous and beautiful lifestyle that I have been an unfortunate and unknown player to all this time.
But do not let this perturb you, keep on reading.
Throughout the book Lotta Dann shares the stories of several extremely brave New Zealand women who disclose their intimate story about their relationship with alcohol, in particular, wine. At times, these stories about their personal relationship with alcohol and the influence it has on their life are heartbreaking and shocking. Reading these is a rollercoaster ride as it dives into the mental health of women across New Zealand and how alcohol can be a big influencing factor towards this.
This is an important read, it is educational, emotive and will leave you questioning your own relationship with alcohol.
Reviewed by Lucy Boomer, MHF People & Organisational Development Manager