"It is wine that is often consumed alone. And it is wine that is, as an element of TV production, used by its respective storytellers as a visual metaphor for its drinkers’ worry and fear.... Instead of conviviality and/or snobbery, the wine in this case suggests the stormy silence of that most modern of afflictions: stress. While traditional wine-drinking might suggest social confidence-building ('lubrication,' etc.), this version emphasizes introversion rather than extroversion: anger that steams into a closed vessel, fear that has no outlet. Olivia gulps wine when, you know, she thinks she might be murdered. Alicia does it when she thinks her husband might go to jail. Skyler, Claire, Carrie, Tami—their wine, to varying degrees of acuteness, indicates the pressures that bear down on them, constantly. And the notion that those pressures must be borne, ultimately, alone."
From an Atlantic article by Megan Garber titled "The Women and the Wine/Whether red or white, whether drunk by Alicia Florrick or Olivia Pope, the beverage has become a metaphor for anxieties that are uniquely feminine in their form."
Well, in the old days, actresses smoked cigarettes...
... but that standard stage business has been medicalized out of drama. I'm not surprised to read about all the actresses drinking on screen these days. It's very visual. Lots of hand and face action. Dark red color. (Is really any of the wine on these shows white?)