In the Vesperal Psalm in which we praise God for the wonder of Creation, we also praise God for: "Καί οίνος εύφραίνει καρδίαν ανθρώπου." ["And wine which gladdens human hearts." (Psalm 103:15 LXX)]
We praise God not only for the fruit of the vine, but for the psychotropic effect it has on us when we use it properly.
The use of wine has been highly ritualized, even in Jewish times. And we continue to ritualize it, even in non-religious ways. Every year, I attend the formal reunion dinner of my old University Skiing Club which survived an avalanche in 1997, and part of the formalities include the Loving Cup Ceremony with mulled wine.
The use of wine has also been ritualized in the Orthodox Church outside of the context of the Divine Liturgy. We bless bread, wheat, wine and oil in the Artoclasia (Bread-breaking ceremony, called Litia in Russian) at Vespers on the eve of Major Feasts. Partaking of these was originally intended to strengthen the Faithful for the All-night Vigil.
The Greek Orthodox custom of "συγχωρία" (sin-chor-RI-a) is another example. Before a major Feast or the beginning of a Fast, wine and bread are offered for partaking in the Narthex together with Kollyva (boiled wheat). By partaking of the bread and wine, you signify your forgiveness of the Living, and by partaking of the Kollyva, you signify your forgiveness of the Dead.
Another place where alcohol is socially ritualized in Greek Orthodox custom is following the vigil for the Dead before the funeral. After the Prayers, a glass of wine or cognac is offered to the mourners, and having attended many an Orthodox funeral, I can personally testify to the wisdom of the practice. After the Vigil for a departed loved one, you are often in that awful space of time knowing that the next step is the funeral and burial of someone you have loved, and it almost feels as though your heart is about to burst. This, of all the times wine is ritually used, is definitely the time I really appreciate fully that "wine gladdens human hearts". Sharing a glass of wine with those who also loved the one whose funeral you will face the next day is life-affirming and is a very bonding thing to do, not to mention the brief relief from the overwhelming grief which a glass of wine provides.