Objective: Moderate alcohol consumption has been proposed to be anti-atherogenic and protect against coronary heart disease. Arterial stiffness provides a summary measure of atherosclerotic arterial damage and cardiovascular risk. A vascular protective effect of moderate alcohol consumption would be reflected in an inverse association between alcohol intake and aortic stiffness. Design: A cross-sectional study. Setting: The male population of Utrecht. Participants: Of 370 men, aged 40-80 years, alcohol intake was calculated from a standardized questionnaire and aortic stiffness was non-invasively assessed by pulse-wave velocity (PWV) measurement of the aorta. Results: There were no non-drinkers; therefore the group consuming 0-3 glasses of alcoholic beverage per week was chosen as the reference group in the analyses. Those drinking 4-10, 11-21 and 22-58 glasses of alcoholic beverage per week had a -0.77 m/s (95% confidence interval, -1.26 to -0.28), -0.57 m/s (95% confidence interval, -1.07 to -0.08) and -0.14 m/s (95% confidence interval, -0.65 to 0.36) difference in mean PWV compared with those drinking 0-3 glasses per week. Adjustment for factors that correlated with PWV or alcohol consumption did not change the strength of the association. Conclusion Among men aged 40-80 years there is a J-shaped association between alcohol consumption and PWV. This further supports a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease with moderate alcohol consumption.