You’ve probably seen bottles of low-calorie wine advertised in stores and online — but, you don’t have to sacrifice your favorite bottles of wine to live a healthy lifestyle! Below, we explain the low-calorie wine craze and outline some simple ways to incorporate healthy wines into your diet.
What Is Low-Calorie Wine?
When you’re assessing your caloric intake, you may be shocked by how many calories you consume in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. To meet consumer demand, some winemakers have developed products with fewer calories and less sugar.
Wine gets its calories from carbohydrates and alcohol. When winemakers produce a “low-calorie” wine, they need to reduce these levels. They do this in a variety of ways, such as adding water, using grapes that naturally have fewer sugars, or spinning the liquid on a centrifuge to reduce alcohol levels.
How Many Calories Are in a Typical Glass of Wine?
According to the USDA, the average five-ounce glass of wine contains 123 calories. However, some types of wine are naturally lower in calories than others. According to the National Institutes of Health and the USDA, a five-ounce glass of dry Riesling contains about 118 calories, while you’ll consume 129 calories in a glass of Zinfandel.
Now, let’s compare the calories in some popular varieties of traditional wine to one of their low-calorie counterparts.
- Pinot Noir: 121 calories
- Skinnygirl Pinot Noir: 100 calories
- Sauvignon Blanc: 119 calories
- FitWine Sauvignon Blanc: 114 calories
- Champagne: 84 calories per four-ounce glass
- Cense Sparkling Brut: 85 calories per five-ounce glass
Practically speaking, there’s not much difference between traditional and low-calorie wines — as long as you consume them in moderation.
Simple Ways You Can Make Healthier Wine Choices
Wine can be part of a healthy diet when it’s enjoyed responsibly. When you’re exploring our wine aisles or pouring a glass, here are a few ways you can improve your wine choices and make healthier choices.
Check Each Bottle’s Alcohol Percentage
Most wine, unless it’s very sweet, doesn’t contain that much residual sugar. While you can cut carbs by choosing drier wines, alcohol is the primary factor in a wine’s calorie levels.
If you’re looking for wines that are naturally lower in calories, select bottles with less alcohol. While wine can contain more than 15% alcohol per volume, you can easily find lower-alcohol wines in our aisles. For example, Riesling Kabinett usually has less than 10% alcohol.
Watch Your Portion Size
For most types of wine, a serving is five ounces. However, if you’re using large wine glasses, it’s easy to overpour. A 750-milliliter bottle of wine contains roughly five servings.
When you’re serving wine, you shouldn’t pour past the widest part of the glass. (Most wine glasses are designed so that they are widest around the five-to-six-ounce mark.) And if you’re using large wine glasses, consider downsizing to avoid the temptation of overpouring.
Consider Organic Wines
While drinking organic wine won’t help you cut calories or carbohydrates, it can help reduce the amount of pesticides you consume. Grapes are consistently on the Environmental Working Groups’ “Dirty Dozen List” due to their high levels of pesticide residue.
On Sale This Week: The Velvet Devil Merlot
This dry red wine is a classic Washington state Merlot-blend. It is smooth and rich, and is delicious with grilled meat, creamy cheeses, and pasta. While it’s not a low-calorie wine, The Velvet Devil certainly is worth the occasional splurge — especially at this week’s price.
Alcohol calorie calculator (n.d.). National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/tools/Calculators/calorie-calculator.aspx
Lunder, S. (2018, April 1). EWG’s 2018 shopper’s guide to pesticides in produce. EWG. Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php
USDA food composition databases (n.d). United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved from https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list?format=&count=&max=50&sort=default&fgcd=&manu=&lfacet=&qlookup=alcoholic+beverage&ds=&qt=&qp=&qa=&qn=&q=&ing=&offset=0&order=asc