When it refers to wine, the New Testament consistently refers to it in its alcohol content state. If nothing but juice was used in the early church, then it makes no sense whatsoever why the 120 disciples on Pentecost are accused of drunkeness on a Holy Day (Acts 2:1-4, 7, 13).
Alcohol's negative consequences
Those who wish to uphold the teaching that NO alcohol of any kind should be used by a Christian usually use ONLY Bible verses that show (sometimes only on the surface) a negative reference to wine. One popular example of alcohol's ill effects is found in Proverbs 20.
Drinking too much makes you loud and foolish. It’s stupid to get drunk. (Proverbs 20:1)
Yes, the Bible does not condone drinking to the point of drunkeness. That said, there is no prohibition from taking a little alcohol so long as it is not over-indulged in. Another section of Proverbs, the 23rd chapter, also condemns drunkenness and alcoholism, but in no way prohibits or even discourages the moderate use of wine:
"Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long at the wine, those who go in search of mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper." (Proverbs 23:29-32)
The "red" liquid that swirls around smoothly is liquid that is still fermenting. One should not "look" upon it to lust after and drink it as doing so before it is fully fermented can cause illness and death.
The references to the "wine of the wrath of God," and "the wine of her fornication" (See Revelation 14, 16, 17 and similar references) merely use it as a pictorial vehicle. They in no way condemn the moderate use of a fermented drink any more than similar word pictures condemn other things. If such "unfavorable" references of this type constituted such a message, a Christian would then sin by wearing a cloak (1Peter 2:6), partaking of water (Numbers 19:9; Jeremiah 8:14), using an oven or heat or fire (Deuteronomy 29:24), etc. etc.
The Bible contains many positive examples and commands about alcoholic beverages. Some of these are below, which helps balance the scriptures that are negative.
Those who wish to promote total abstinence seem to twist wine's positive references to refer to juice, and all the negative references refer to juice of the fermented kind. The Bible, however, is consistent in its references to wine as having an alcohol content.
Like food and so many other things in the Bible, the issue of alcohol is not one of total prohibition but rather of moderation. The apostle Paul, concerned about the health of his close friend and evangelist Timothy, told him to stop drinking just water and begin to partake of some wine 'for you stomach's sake' and for the sake of his illnesses (1Timothy 5:23). Paul promoted a balance approach to alcohol and other things in life (Philippians 4:5).
The Bible DOES allow Christians to partake of alcohol in a responsible way. Jesus saw nothing wrong with drinking a little wine now and then. If he saw nothing wrong with it moderate use, we should see nothing wrong with doing so as well.