All you need to know about the Calorie Content of Wine

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During the Holiday season, many of us tend to eat more and drink more wine than usual. The great news is that wine does not contain cholesterol, sodium or fat, but how does our wine consumption affect our shape? Have you ever wondered how many calories are in a glass of wine?

Recently, Australian’s Treasury Wine Estates announced they will publish caloric content on their bottle labels to help consumers make more informed choices about what they’re drinking. Treasury knows what we all want to know: what is going into our bodies?

After some further research on the matter (The Drink Business, Drink Aware, Fortune, Wine Folly, Wine Spectator), I found some interesting facts that can act as a guide for you as you ponder the calories in the wines you consume.


The Myth: Sweet wines are the most caloric
 
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Actually, wines with the highest alcohol level are the most caloric. Alcohol content has a higher impact on calorie count than sugar. Here are some explanations:

Fact number 1: More Alcohol = More Calories
The highest calorie wines tend to have the highest alcohol content.
Wine’s alcohol by volume (ABV) tells you what percentage of the wine is made up of alcohol. The higher the percentage, the more alcohol is present. In this sense, it’s better to opt for a lower ABV. 

Fact number 2: More Sugar = More Calories
The sweeter the wine is, the higher the calorie content. It means that dessert wines contain more calories than other wines. For instance, one glass of Merlot represents around 150 calories, while a glass of Chenin Blanc represents 170 or more. However, a Moscato D’Asti, which is very sweet but low in alcohol (5.5% ABV) will be less caloric (140 calories).

Fact number 3: Warm Region Wines = More Alcohol
Warm regions, such as California, make higher alcohol wine (and thereby contains more calories).

If we compare Californian and French wines:
  • Cabernet Sauvignon from California (6oz) = 175 calories
  • Cabernet Sauvignon from France (6oz) = 160 calories

Wine / Calories Infographic

The Myth: “A glass of Champagne is more caloric than a glass of Sauvignon”

Here is an infographic to highlight the differences between the various types of wine, according to their respective alcohol levels and calorie counts. You may be surprised.


→ For the most part, Champagne (sparkling wine) is the least caloric wine in average. That’s good news for bubbly fans!


Alcoholic beverages / Calories infographic

The Myth: “Beer is more caloric than wine”

As a comparison, here is an infographic showing alcohol levels and calories compared to other alcoholic beverages.


 

→ A pint of beer (16oz) = 182 calories. But if you drink the same amount of red wine (2.6 glasses), you will absorb around 400 calories. Surprising, right?

Cider appears to be the most caloric beverage among this selection. This is due to its high level of sugar.


Solutions to reduce the calories consumed while keep drinking wine
 
Of course, you love wine and don’t plan to stop enjoying it just because it has calories. But here are a few ideas I found to reduce your caloric consumption in wine.

   1.   Pay attention to the alcohol level
Remember: the higher the alcohol level, the higher the calorie content. This is an occasion to try wines from colder regions which naturally produce wines with less alcohol. For example, French wines from the Alsace region, which produces fabulous Riesling.

   2.   Try the “light” wines
Low-calorie wines are generally 20% less caloric than normal ones. They have a lighter alcohol content, which can be achieved by harvesting grapes earlier than normal. 

Two major brands propose this type of wine:

  • Skinnygirl  (100 calories per glass): represented by the reality TV star Bethenny Frankel. This company started by making light cocktails, and expanded by making low-cal wines.
  • Skinny Vine (90 calories per glass): A Treasury Wine Estates brand. They use a special filtration process to remove some of the alcohol in the wine, which ends up reducing the calorie level.

   3.   Choose between dessert and dessert wine
If you are like me, you enjoy sipping late harvest dessert wine from time to time (such as a Sauternes). The bad news is that these wines have a very high calorie content due to their sweetness and high alcohol level. Here’s my advice if you’re on a diet but don’t want to miss the sweet wine: enjoy a glass of dessert wine, but skip the dessert. 

   4.   If you love Sparkling wines, opt for a “Brut Nature”
There are different types of sparkling, and some of them are way more caloric. Favoring a “Brut Nature” (no sugar added) over a “Sweet”/”Doux” (sugar added) will reduce your calorie consumption.


Last words:

Now you will have a story to tell to your family and friends during Christmas dinner: do they know how many calories they are consuming while sipping their wine? Well, now you know and you can bust the myths!


Now, do you know more about the calorie content in alcoholic beverages?
Take our Quiz to find out your score! 


May your Holiday be filled with wine!



Louise Veron
 – louise@vinovisit.com
Marketing and Social Media Coordinator at VinoVisit.com
Originally from Bordeaux (France), I moved to the Napa Valley to work for VinoVisit.com last February. I just finished my trilingual Master’s degree in Wine Tourism and International Marketing and graduated with honors. As a real food and wine lover, I’m enjoying exploring the area and relating my discoveries from a very French point of view.




Icons Used In Infographics – Credits (made by Freepik from Flaticon.com)

Glass of wine icon 
Sparkling wine icon
Cider glass icon
Beer glass icon
Port glass icon
Spirit glass icon




 

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