The Wine-deer Challenge – Revisited


Ever wonder how Rudolph’s nose got so red?

With Christmas and the New Year just around the corner come the parties, gatherings, celebrations, and tendency to overindulge during the festivities. Many of us gravitate to foods and beverages we don’t normally consume regularly, such as sweet treats, savory dips and dishes rich in sauces, gravies, and high in fat. Oh, and then there’s wine.

At the beginning of January I find myself yearning for those shortbread cookies that melt the moment they reach my mouth, not to mention how I begin salivating at the mere thought of homemade butter tarts.  I also crave wine.

Each January I take a temporary interruption from wine, and all things sugary, as a way to jump-start my wellness plans into the New Year. Throughout the rest of the year I keep my wine drinking routines at bay however, for reasons celebratory in nature, I come out of the closet and indulge in toasty chardonnays, warm pinot noirs and crisp sauvignon blancs over the holiday season.

Christmas aside, have you ever wondered if you are a closet wine drinker? Do you beat yourself up for over consuming from time to time? Have you found yourself looking a little too eagerly toward happy hour? What you need to know is that you are not alone, and there is a good chance you are not wine dependent; just someone who could benefit from a more conscious relationship with wine.

With all this in mind I am very excited to announce my new upcoming book – Wine Within Your Comfort Zone: A Woman’s Guide to Occasional Wining. It will be (has been) published in 2014 and I’ll be sure to keep you ‘posted’, so watch for it! I’ll also be posting some sneak previews, tips, strategies and, with permission, women’s stories on my blog.

Wine Within Your Comfort Zone, takes an honest look at women’s complicated relationship with wine, and its consequences. I speak to my readers from first hand experience but make no mistake, I am not, nor ever intend to be wine dependent. I have a secret, and I’m willing to share it with those of you who want to get off the hamster wheel, and on with the quality of your life.

Wine Within Your Comfort Zone focus’ on a preventative approach; so that women don’t land on the dark side of wine. As I add the final touches to my book, I welcome your input through this blog. If you have a story to share, an insight, or a strategy, please contact me at or post below. All emails will be held in the strictest confidence.

So, here it is – your first sneak peek from chapter two.

The Grey Zone

     After years of revelations that include family history, observations of women’s drinking patterns, countless interactions, and discussions with women who enjoy their daily wine, I learned the truth. Not everyone falls into the two categories of take-it-or-leave-it, or alcoholism.  There is an area I call, the grey zone. It’s that place in between take-it-or-leave-it, and alcoholism. In the grey zone, women receive warning signs but often ignore them. Their intuition tightens in their gut yet, for some reason, they listen to ego, the pleasure centers, even when they don’t wake up feeling well the next day.

     We all know women who have the ability to take-it-or-leave-it when it comes to wine and other spirits—the designated driver at the party, the one on a cleanse, the one who asks for a cranberry and soda rather than a cocktail. Yet, they drink on occasion—a wedding, big birthday, or a wine tour. They may even have one or two glasses a day, but these women are able to stop, put the kettle on, and make tea. You know them.

     We can identify who the problem drinkers are. Perhaps a family member, friend or colleague who drinks to intoxication frequently, and with deliberate intention. For these individuals, the urge to drink is powerful, all consuming, physical, and psychological; they seem unable to stop themselves. 

     To put the grey zone in perspective, think of overweight women neither obese, nor, at an ideal weight. The woman in the grey zone, is not an alcoholic, nor does she take-it-or-leave-it with regard to wine. The overweight woman diets, goes through some cravings, discomfort and symptoms of withdrawal, not unlike the woman who decides to go on a ‘wine diet’.

     Women in the grey zone often have wine in the home, reach for a glass after a hectic day at work, and drink while they cook, eat, and sometimes when alone if they feel like it. Although able to designate themselves as a driver and abstain from time to time, they often choose not to. They’d rather take a cab, or arrange a safe ride home from someone else, like the friend on the cleanse. These are women whose wine glass has become an extension of their arm. Not unlike me, I’m guessing it might also be you.

     Women in the grey zone have a tendency to give in to the evening at the end of each day through their glasses of wine. Some women have become closet drinkers in that they often drink alone. Fortunately for today’s women there is a raised cultural awareness due to recent books and media attention on the topic of women and wine.

     Women enjoy the instant gratification they get from a daily dose of pleasure in a wine glass, and although it has crossed their minds to cut back, they usually repeat the pattern at the end of each day finding it easier each time, to slip into the daily routine, wooden spoon in one hand, glass half full in the other. Often, women try to fulfill a need deep within and are fooled into thinking that the effects of the wine are going to do the trick. Perhaps it does do the trick, but women know it’s only a temporary fix, and the pattern repeats over and over and over again……

There you have it, an excerpt from chapter two. Now, on to the wine-deer challenge; an opportunity for you to use tips of the week to get through the over indulgences of this holiday season. You’ll ease into January without those nasty cravings for wine, and all things sugary. I’ll be posting tips of the week to help keep you on the wine-deer track. I look forward to your participation.


Wine-deer Tip

To keep from getting Blitzened: When going to a Christmas party or event, plan to consume no more than four ‘drinks’ as follows:

  • Sip and savor two five-ounce glasses of wine over at least four hours.
  • Enjoy two eight-ounce glasses of refreshing lemon water between each glass of wine.


  • Sip and savor up to three wine spritzers (3-oz wine topped up with soda water). Be sure your wine measurement doesn’t exceed the 3 oz per glass however, if it does, gauge your intake accordingly.
  • Delight in an eight ounce glass of lemon water between each wine spritzer.

Note: If you blow it, and have an extra glass of wine, or additional wine spritzer, add an hour to consume it followed by lemon water to finish off the evening.


Recipe for a red wine-deer spritzer:

  • 3 oz pinot noir (or other light red)
  • 3oz cranberry cocktail (or to taste)
  • 3 oz soda water
  • 4 or 5 frozen cranberries and/or crushed ice
  • add an orange wedge on the side.


Marla O’Brien

*Please DO NOT drink and drive!


2 thoughts on “The Wine-deer Challenge – Revisited

  1. Love my book that is carefully placed on my coffee table since the day it arrived in the mail, signed by my comfort friend. It is easily accessible and I find myself picking it up often, selecting the perfect pages to read while I wait for the water to boil for my pot of afternoon tea, or the last 20 minutes I find myself waiting for Mikey to come home. Thank you my friend😍. I will treasure it always 💕.

    Sent from my iPad

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s