Do all wines have the same amount of calories? What low calorie wine brands and types have the least amount of calories? How about caloric content by grape variety? We dive into these questions with some quick facts about calories in wine.
Calories in Wine
Luckily, not all grapes are created equal. Otherwise we wouldn’t have so many awesome complexities! In terms of caloric content, some wine grape varieties are naturally lower in calories than others.
There are a few factors that come into play, though. For example, early harvesting of grapes will result in a smaller sugar concentration, thus, fewer calories in the end wine product.
The facts we discuss below will help you discover what wines (both red and white) could help you cut back on calories whilst enjoying your favorite beverage.
If we had to give any direct pointers, we’d start by saying that it’s not worth paying too much attention to caloric content in wine unless you plan on drinking a lot. There simply isn’t enough of a difference between traditional grape varieties, as they relate to calories, to sound any alarms. Be mindful, but drink what you enjoy most in moderation!
Remember, especially if you’re overweight, the human body will process alcohol in an effort to remove it from your system before anything else you’ve ingested. That being said, if you’re trying to lose weight, you should certainly watch your intake as any protein, carbohydrates and or fats you’ve consumed will take a back seat and end up as excess weight.
That said, let’s talk about which are the best low calorie wine grapes and some facts associated with these delicious varieties.
Wine Styles That are Lower in Calories
Essentially, any wine style produced from grapes that didn’t have a high sugar content from the get-go will be your safest bet. If sugar content eludes you, go for dryer white or red wines. Even though alcohol accounts for more calories in wine, wines with high residual sugar (sweet wine) still typically contain a relatively high alcohol content. Combine the two and you have an excess amount of calories – so stay dry to be safe if you’re counting caloric intake.
When it comes to Sparkling Wine, try sampling Brut, Extra Brut or Brut-Zero Prosecco, Champagne or Spanish Cava.
Facts Related to Calories in Wine and Low Calorie Wine Grapes
- Sauvignon Blanc is the most popular lowest calorie white wine grape. Followed closely by Pinot Grigio (Italy) and Gris (France).
- Dry wines typically have fewer calories. They retain fewer sugar calories than sweet wines because most of the sugar has been converted to alcohol. However, as we mentioned above, alcohol has more calories per gram than sugar does – about 4 more! So try not to buy wines that are both high in alcohol and sweetness to keep calories down.
- The lowest calorie wines will often be both dry and have a low alcohol content. This is achieved by harvesting the grapes before they are fully mature.
- Many wines that have a low caloric content are often made out of Riesling
- The lowest calorie wines will contain about 8% ABV (alcohol).
- The lowest calorie glass of wine you’ll typically be able to find will contain about 90 calories per 5 ounce pour. Since most of us don’t drink such a minuscule amount, we’re just going to tell you a 7 ounce pour equals, on average, 160 calories.
- One whole bottle of red wine will net you somewhere around 610 calories.
- One bottle of white wine will have close to 595 calories.
While harvesting grapes a few weeks early results in a less sugar and ultimately a lower alcohol content, you may be sacrificing flavor and complexity to save yourself a mere 20 calories. Is it really worth it? Probably not.
Just park further away from the entrance to the office the next day. Wine is meant to be enjoyed and there’s no reason to cut corners!
Calories in Wine for Popular Grape Varieties
The USDA lists some of the more popular wine grape varieties along with their average calorie content per 5 ounce pour below.
- Gamay – 114 calories
- Sauvignon Blanc – 120 calories
- Gewurztraminer – 118 calories
- Riesling – 120 calories
- Pinot Noir – 120 calories
- Chenin Blanc – 118 calories
- Monastrell – 130 calories
- Sangiovese – 126 calories
- Cabernet Franc – 123 calories
- Grenache – 122 calories
- Chardonnay – 123 calories
- Cabernet Sauvignon – 122 calories
- Merlot – 122 calories
- Pinot Grigio – 122 calories
- Syrah – 122 calories