Why Does Red Wine Make Your Poop Dark? The Ultimate Answer

Red wine might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you consider matters related to your bowel health, but for those of us who enjoy a nice glass at dinner, it’s important to know why it could cause some unexpected consequences.

Many people have noticed that after consuming red wine their poop can turn an unexpected dark shade and may even contain small pieces of partially or undigested grape skin or vines.

If you’re wondering what’s causing this strange change in your stools, read on to find out more about why does red wine make your poop dark?

1. What is red wine?

Let’s begin with the basics: Red wine is an alcoholic drink that is produced by fermenting the juice of dark-skinned grapes. It is different from white wine in both the raw material and the manufacturing process.

What is red wine?
Dark-skinned grape juice is fermented to create red wine, an alcoholic beverage. (Source: Internet)

While white wine is made from light-skinned grapes, red wine is made solely from dark-skinned grapes.

In the process of making red wine, winemakers mix pressed grape juice (known as must) with dark grape skins, which add color, flavor, and tannins to the wine.

The wine gets produced through the natural conversion of sugar in the grapes into alcohol and carbon dioxide by yeast. Finally, the end product obtained is red wine.

2. Red Wine Styles

Red wines are classified by their “body type”. This means that a specific red wine might be considered “light-bodied” based on its tannin structure and mouthfeel.

  • Light-bodied red wine: These wines are usually high in acidity and low in tannins, giving them a refreshing taste. These wines can be paired with foods like pork, poultry, and light-bodied cheeses.
  • Medium-bodied red wine: Medium-bodied reds have more structure than their lighter counterparts but still retain a certain balance between body and acidity. They pair well with grilled vegetables, roasted meats, and full-flavored cheeses.
  • Full-bodied red wine: Wines that fall into this category are known for their bold flavor profile and robust texture. They are often high in alcohol content as well as tannins which give them a fuller body. Full-bodied red wines pair well with dishes such as steak or beef stew.

Why does red wine make your poop dark?

3. Red Wine and Digestion

Let’s talk about the connection between red wine and digestion. Red wine contains antioxidants and polyphenols, which are beneficial compounds known to reduce inflammation, fight free radicals, and protect against cell damage, promoting overall good health.

Although red wine has numerous health benefits, it may hurt digestion by causing dark poop. The reason behind this is the presence of anthocyanins in red wine.

4. Anthocyanins and Dark Poop

What are anthocyanins?

What are anthocyanins?
Anthocyanins are a class of antioxidants found in foods with red, purple, or blue coloring. (Source: Internet)

Anthocyanins are a group of antioxidants available in fruits and vegetables that have red, purple or blue colors. These belong to the same family of antioxidants found in wine, tea, and dark chocolate, known as flavonoids.

The foods that contain the most anthocyanins are black grapes, mulberries, red raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, black beans, red wine, etc.

Polyphenols, including flavonoids, are antioxidants that can aid in preventing or treating health issues related to inflammation and oxidative stress like cancer, heart disease, and age-related cognitive decline.

For generations, anthocyanin-rich foods have been used in natural remedies, and recent studies provide further evidence of their health benefits.

Additionally, anthocyanins extracted from plants are often used as natural food colorants and additives, such as E163 derived from grape skin, which adds a purple hue to drinks, candy, and jam.

So why does red wine make your poop dark?

Anthocyanins can have the negative effect of causing dark-colored feces. This occurs because they can bind to gut bacteria, which can alter the color of your bowel movements from their usual brown to green or black.

The reason why red wine can make your poop dark is due to its anthocyanin content. When consumed, these compounds can bind to gut bacteria and lead to a change in poop color. It’s worth noting that this effect is harmless, but it may not be pleasant for everyone.

Additionally, red wine contains tannins, which can make your poop look darker than usual. Tannins are substances found in plants that can disrupt digestion. They attach themselves to the proteins in food when ingested, making it harder to digest and can lead to constipation and dark stool.

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5. Dark Poop: What Could It Mean?

If you have black or tarry poop, it could be because of a change in your diet or medication. However, it could also be a sign of a medical issue. Therefore, it’s important to contact your doctor even if you believe you know the cause.

Common Culprits that cause dark or black poop are Iron Supplements, Dark-Colored Foods, Esophageal and Gastric Cancers, Bleeding Ulcer, Medicines With Bismuth, Esophageal Varices

6. How To Find Out If Red Wine Is The Culprit?

To find out whether red wine is causing your dark poop, avoid drinking it completely for two weeks. If your stool returns to its usual color during this time, red wine is probably responsible for your dark stool.

If you stop consuming red wine and your stool color remains unchanged, it could mean that something other than red wine is causing the dark color. It is recommended to visit a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

6. If you suspect that red wine may be causing your digestive problems, what steps should you take?

If you suspect that red wine is causing your digestive problems, consider avoiding it for a week or two and observe if your symptoms get better. Identifying if red wine is the cause of your problems can be determined if your symptoms improve after eliminating it from your diet.

If you still want to drink red wine altogether, you can try to drink it in moderation. For example, only drink one or two glasses per week and try it with food. This will slow down alcohol absorption and reduces digestive problems.

If issues persist despite cutting back, consult your doctor to identify the underlying cause and get treatment advice.

7. Tips for Drinking Red Wine Without Feeling Sick

Here are a few tips to help minimize the impact of red wine on your digestive system if you enjoy drinking it.

  • Consume red wine with food: To reduce the impact of alcohol on your digestive system, it’s recommended to have red wine with food.
  • Drink water when drinking red wine: Drinking water while consuming red wine can help eliminate toxins from the system.
  • Do not drink red wine when you have an empty stomach. It’s better to avoid drinking red wine on an empty stomach to prevent nausea.
  • Reduce the amount of red wine consumed per week: It’s advised to limit the intake of red wine to one or two glasses per week.
Why Does Red Wine Make Your Poop Dark?
If you enjoy drinking red wine, here are a few suggestions to lessen its negative effects on your digestive system. (Source: Internet)

Health benefits of red wine 

Despite the potential problems red wine can cause to your digestive system, it still has some health benefits when consumed in moderation.

#1. Keeps heart healthy

Red wine contains polyphenols, which are a type of antioxidant that helps keep blood vessels flexible and prevents unnecessary clotting, resulting in lower cholesterol levels and a healthier heart. It’s important to note that heavy drinking can still cause damage to the heart.

#2. Regulates blood sugar

According to research, resveratrol is a natural compound found in grape skin that can help control blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes.

The study found that participants who took 250 mg of resveratrol supplements once a day for three months had lower glucose levels in their blood compared to those who did not take the supplement.

Additionally, resveratrol can also help regulate cholesterol levels and systolic blood pressure.

#3. Rich in antioxidants

To enjoy red wine responsibly, it’s important to understand its potential effects on your health. Red wine contains powerful antioxidants such as resveratrol, epicatechin, catechin, and proanthocyanidins, which can have both positive and negative impacts on your well-being. The darker the grapes, the higher the antioxidant content. Resveratrol and proanthocyanidins are particularly beneficial for your health.

#4. Lowers bad cholesterol

According to a study, certain varieties of red wines made from high-fiber Tempranillo red grapes, like Rioja, are known for their ability to lower bad cholesterol levels in the body.

#5. Helps treat the common cold

Red wine contains antioxidants that can help treat the common cold by protecting cells against free radicals, which can cause colds, cancer, and other diseases.

#6. Reduces the risk of cancer

Drinking red wine in moderation has been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers such as basal cell, colon, prostate carcinoma, and ovarian cancer.

A study found that resveratrol, found in red wine, can block the actions of a protein that promotes cancer growth when tested on human cancer cells.

#7. Reduces the risk of depression

According to a study involving middle-aged to elderly individuals, moderate daily alcohol consumption, particularly in the form of red wine, can help prevent depression.

Those who do not drink red wine may have a higher likelihood of experiencing depression.

8. FAQs

1. Which foods can darken the color of my stools?

Consuming certain items like black licorice, blueberries, blood sausage, iron pills, activated charcoal, or medicines with bismuth (like Pepto-Bismol) may result in black stools. In some cases, red-colored foods like beets can make stools appear reddish.

2. After consuming alcohol, why does my poop turn almost black or dark green?

Consuming coffee, alcohol, jalapeños, and chili pepper can result in a quicker bowel movement. These foods possess a laxative effect which causes food to move through your intestines rapidly, preventing it from changing color from green to brown.

3. Can drinking red wine cause your feces to have an odor?

Consuming alcohol, including beer, wine, and whiskey, can lead to unpleasant-smelling poop. This is because high levels of alcohol in the bloodstream can affect organs in the body such as the stomach and intestines. Dr. Sonpal explains that high concentrations of alcohol can also impact the natural bacteria in the intestines, making them less effective in carrying out their normal functions.

4. Is it healthy to consume red wine daily?

Dr. Septimus warns that excessive drinking of wine and other types of alcohol can have negative impacts on a person’s health.

Consuming more wine than recommended regularly can increase the risk of developing various health issues, including cancer, liver disease, chronic pancreatitis, and sleep disorders.

5. Is okay to drink 2 glasses of red wine per night?

To consume red wine in moderation, it is advised to have 1-2 glasses per day. Additionally, it is recommended to avoid drinking any alcohol for at least 1-2 days every week.

6. Which type of wine is the most healthy to consume?

Pinot Noir is often considered the healthiest wine due to its higher levels of resveratrol.

This type of wine is made from grapes with thinner skin, has lower sugar content, fewer calories, and a lower alcohol content as well.

7. Does red wine make your poop dark?

Yes, tannins found in red wine can make your poop look darker than usual. Tannins are substances found in plants that can disrupt digestion. They attach themselves to the proteins in food when ingested, making it harder to digest and can lead to constipation and dark stool.

8. Is it bad if I have black or tarry poop?

If you have black or tarry poop, it could be because of a change in your diet or medication. However, it could also be a sign of a medical issue. Therefore, it’s important to contact your doctor even if you believe you know the cause.

9. What else can cause dark stool?

The dark stool can be caused by a variety of factors, including consuming large amounts of iron supplements or foods high in iron, esophageal and Gastric Cancers, Bleeding Ulcers, Medicines With Bismuth, and Esophageal Varices. It is recommended to talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any changes in the color of your stools.

10. How can I reduce the impact of red wine on my digestive system?

If you want to enjoy red wine, consider consuming it with food to slow down alcohol absorption. You should also drink water while drinking red wine and avoid having an empty stomach. Lastly, limit your intake to one or two glasses per week.


If your stool has turned dark after consuming red wine, don’t worry. It’s usually just a side effect of the alcohol.

However, if you’re also experiencing additional symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, or nausea, it could indicate a more serious health problem. It’s advisable to consult a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions if you’re worried.

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