This narrative review aims to summarize the current controversy on the balance between ethanol and phytochemicals in wine, focusing on light drinking and oral cancer. Extensive literature search included PUBMED and EMBASE databases to identify in human studies and systematic reviews (up to March 2015), which contributed to elucidate this issue. Independently from the type of beverage, meta-analyses considering light drinking (≤1 drinks/day or ≤12.5 g/day of ethanol) reported relative risks (RR) for oral, oro-pharyngeal, or upper aero-digestive tract cancers, ranging from 1.0 to 1.3. One meta-analysis measured the overall wine-specific RR, which corresponded to 2.1. Although little evidence exists on light wine intake, phytochemicals seem not to affect oral cancer risk, being probably present below the effective dosages and/or due to their low bioavailability. As expected, the risk of oral cancer, even in light drinking conditions, increases when associated with smoking habit and high-risk genotypes of alcohol and aldehyde dehydrogenases.