How Many Calories Are in a Glass of Wine?
Anish Patel @ 2022-03-21 05:45:54 -0700
When it comes to watching your calorie intake, it can be surprising to find that what you drink matters, too.
For wine-lovers, the nutritional value of wine might not often come to mind. You won’t find much more than the alcoholic content on the label of a bottle of wine, which can make shopping for wine a little tricky. However, don’t let this deter you. If you’re trying to keep the calories down, wine is one of your best beverage options.
However, there are a few things you need to know to make the right wine selection, as bottles can vary in calories. This guide will help you find the perfect wine to fit your lifestyle. After all, your health goals should never be a reason not to have a little fun.
First, let’s go over the most important factor to consider: what’s the calorie count in a glass of wine?
How Many Calories Are in a Glass of Wine?
Dry table wines are both common and affordable. These are also the wines with the lowest calories. A 5-oz glass of dry table wine (like Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, or Chardonnay) has about 120-130 calories. That’s around the same caloric intake as a serving of hummus and cucumbers or a bowl of greek yogurt.
The calories in a glass of wine come from two places: alcohol and sugar. Alcohol contains seven calories per gram. So, if you know the ABV (which will always be displayed on the label), you can multiply that by 7 to find the calories from alcohol. For example, for a wine with an ABV of 12.5%:
12.5 x 7 = 87.5
However, this isn’t the only place that those calories are coming from.
Sugar is a carbohydrate, and wine has varying amounts of sugar. Sugar contains four calories per gram, and dry wines have 1-2 grams of sugar per glass. On the other hand, sweet wine contains up to eight grams per glass. That’s a huge difference! Keep the sweet wine to a minimum and stick to dry wines if you're watching your calories.
To sum up, a 5-oz pour of a dry table wine typically falls between 11% and 14% alcohol, 1-2 grams of sugar, and 120-130 calories.
A standard 2-oz pour of sweet wine ranges from 11%-20% alcohol, contains up to 8 grams of sugar, and falls in the 130-165 calorie range.
How To Find the Healthiest Wine in the Store
You can find a wine with low calories fairly easily; you just have to know what to look for. Here’s how to make wine fit in your healthy lifestyle.
#1: Stick to Small Wine Shops
Finding the healthiest wine begins with choosing the right store.
Grocery stores and larger retailers often carry wines with additives, higher sugar levels, and higher calories. Choose to shop at local wine stores. There, you’re likely to find wines made by smaller producers who don’t overdo it on the alcohol and sugar — and don’t have to add extra ingredients to their wine to cover up flaws.
#2: Choose Natural Wine Over Conventional Wine
Conventional wines are made with poor-quality fruit and often contain additives to make the wine taste better at a low cost. They might also include added sugar to sweeten the wine because the fruit isn’t ripe enough. Some of these wines have soaring sugar levels, which means the calorie count is unnecessarily higher.
Natural wines are typically made organically, with high-quality fruit and no additives. The fruit is ripe and the flavors pop, so sugar isn’t needed to make the wine palatable. You might pay an extra $5-$15 for these wines, but consider it an investment in your health. If you don’t eat overly processed foods, don’t drink overly processed wine, either.
Natural winemakers also tend to make the technical details that aren’t on the label available on their website. This is standard practice for the natural wine community. You can find everything you need to know about the nutrition value of the wine, including the sugar and alcohol levels.
If you can’t find the tech sheet, ask the owner of the wine shop if they have it on hand. Sometimes they do and are happy to share it with you.
#3 Make It Worth Your While With a Glass of Red Wine.
Red wine has been touted to have health benefits. That’s right — a glass of red wine is good for you. So, if you want to drink calories, make it count for something.
Red wine has antioxidants that support a healthy heart, reduce the risk of stroke, and are anti-inflammatory, supporting the nervous system. Some research also suggests that red wine protects against certain cancers, neurological disorders, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
Furthermore, a 2019 study found that a twin who drank red wine had a healthier gut microbiota compared to their non-red-wine-drinking sibling.
#3: Drink Dry Wine With Lower Alcohol Levels
Some grapes naturally yield dry wines that are low in alcohol. Many of these wines are whites like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Gruner Veltliner, and Bourgogne Blanc. However, rosé is a fantastic option, and red wines like Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Merlot keep it relatively light.
Dry wines with residual sugar and higher alcohol levels are Zinfandel, California Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz.
On the other hand, Riesling is a little tricky. Many bottles of Riesling will be as low as 8% in alcohol, but these are sweeter wines with higher sugar levels. However, a bottle with a higher alcohol percentage usually contains less sugar. These low-sugar Rieslings are on the drier side.
How To Fit Wine Into Your Healthy Lifestyle
There are plenty of things you can do to be a perfectly healthy wine drinker. It’s easy to take care of your body so that the calories you get from wine are no big deal.
Here are our top tips for enjoying a glass of guilt-free wine.
#1: Drink Water Before You Drink Wine
This is obvious, but it's easy to let the day get away without taking a sip of water.
Get intentional with your water intake. Hydration might be the most important lifestyle choice you can make for a healthy body. This is especially true if you plan on opening that bottle of Tempranillo tonight with dinner. Hydration also helps you burn more calories, even while you’re sitting down and sipping on your wine!
Be sure to drink a glass of water every hour throughout your evening. This habit will support your liver and help it process the alcohol.
#2: Drink Moderately
Drinking in moderation is the key to reaping the benefits of wine. However, some studies have also shown that people who drink wine moderately also experience less weight gain. To drink moderately, be sure to take breaks between nights out, alternate wine with water, and pour yourself smaller glasses. These habits lead to fewer calories at the end of the night.
When you do drink, savor your wine. This timeless beverage has fascinating aromas and flavors, so take a moment to swirl and sniff your glass before taking a sip. Slow down, savor the wine, and you’ll drink slower.
#3: Eat the Right Foods
Good nutrition helps your liver process the alcohol you’re drinking. It also wards off a nasty hangover the following day and prevents you from getting too buzzed.
Be sure to eat a hearty meal before you drink (not after) to help your body process the wine. The best foods to eat are eggs, salmon, potatoes, avocado, and bananas — but don’t overthink it. Just eat a balanced meal of healthy fats, veggies, and protein.
#4: Get Up and Move
Is that glass of wine making you feel the music a little more? Get up and dance!
Dancing for half an hour can burn anywhere from 200-400 calories. If you’re not a dancer, incorporate movement into your life other ways. Play a game that requires everyone to stand — like charades. Take a brisk walk around the neighborhood or dust off that old karaoke machine.
Not only does wine have a lower calorie count than other alcoholic beverages, it actually offers some incredible health benefits as well. Now you know exactly how to incorporate a night of fun into your healthy lifestyle with wine. Used in moderation, it’s not just “not bad for you”—it might be good for your health!
Want a low-calorie wine? Try Natural Wines, delicious wines with less than 125 calories per glass and made with organic grapes.