By the Numbers: How Many Calories in a Glass of Wine?
McKenzie Hagan |
As a wine lover, you're no stranger to the pleasure of sipping on a lovely glass of red, white, or rosé. But what you might not be so acquainted with is how many calories are swirling in your glass of wine. Not that you could be blamed for not knowing. After all, it's rather challenging to know these details when there are no nutrition fact labels on a bottle of wine as there are with almost any other food or drink. So, how many calories in a glass of wine? We'll answer that question and more, plus give you the calorie count for different types of wine.
Understanding Calories in Wine
Before we get into how many calories in a glass of wine, let's quickly review where wine calories come from in the first place.
Once the wine grapes are harvested from the vineyard and crushed into juice, they all undergo a fermentation process. This process is when yeast eats the sugar in the grape juice and converts it into alcohol. The amount of sugar that’s converted depends on the winemaker and the type of wine they're making. If fermentation is halted before all the alcohol is converted into sugar, there will be more leftover sugar (aka residual sugar), resulting in a sweeter wine. If there's less residual sugar or none at all, the result is a dry wine.
As you probably already know thanks to all the low carb info out there, sugar is a carbohydrate. As such, the amount of carbs in any particular wine depends on the amount of residual sugar it has. In wine, these carbs translate to about 4 calories per gram. Alcohol is the other piece of the puzzle that contributes to the number of calories in a glass of wine. It contains about 7 calories per gram.
With this information in mind, you can get an overall sense of which wines will have a higher or lower calorie count. Dry, low-alcohol wines will have fewer calories than sweeter, higher-alcohol wines. For instance, a glass of Pinot Grigio at 12.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) will likely have fewer calories than a glass of Zinfandel at 15% ABV.
When looking at the label on a bottle of wine, take note of the ABV:
- Low-alcohol wine: Less than 12.5% ABV
- Moderate-alcohol wine: 12.5-14% ABV
- High-alcohol wines: 14.5% ABV or above
It's worth noting that some vintners add sugar to their wine before or during fermentation. Known as chaptalization, it's a bit of a controversial practice and is even illegal in a number of regions, including California, Italy, Australia, Spain, Greece, Portugal, and South Africa among others. Ironically, this process doesn't aim to sweeten the wine but to increase its alcohol content. Unless a winemaker is transparent about its practices, you won't know if chaptalization is part of their process.
Here at Usual Wines, we keep things clean and simple. Our wines are made with traditional winemaking techniques. No added sugars, no chemicals, no additives — just small-batch, sustainably farmed grapes so you can enjoy a clean, refreshing glass of wine every time.
The bottom line: Sugar content and alcohol content impact the overall calorie content of wine, so pay attention to those factors. For even more details, check out our complete guide to calories in wine and how to understand alcohol content in wine.
How Many Calories in a Glass of Wine?
As you might have surmised at this point, there is no single answer to the question, "How many calories in a glass of wine?" It all depends on what type of wine you're talking about. It also depends on how large the glass of wine is. That said, there is a baseline when it comes to serving size for wine.
The standard glass of wine in the United States is 5 ounces (147 grams) with 12% alcohol by volume (ABV). By this measurement, your average glass of wine has somewhere between 100 and 160 calories, according to the USDA.
If you're trying to cut down on extra calories, be it for weight loss or other health reasons, keep these tips in mind:
- Dry white wine with a lower ABV is generally the best option when you're trying to keep a lower calorie count
- Stay away from sweet dessert wines, which tend to have more sugar and the highest number of calories
- If you feel like red wine, opt for Merlot, which has a lower calorie count than most other reds
Calories in a Glass of Red Wine
While these figures aren't set in stone, you can use them as a general guideline when it comes to the calories in red wine. Again, this is for your standard 5-ounce glass of wine per the USDA:
- Barbera: 125 calories
- Cabernet Sauvignon: 122 calories
- Carignan: 109 calories
- Gamay: 115 calories
- Grenache: 122 calories
- Malbec: 135 calories
- Merlot: 120 calories
- Pinot Noir: 121 calories
- Sangiovese: 126 calories
- Syrah: 122 calories
- Zinfandel: 129 calories
Calories in a Glass of White Wine
- Champagne: 124 calories (Brut Zero, the driest) to 175 calories (Doux, the sweetest)
- Chardonnay: 120 calories
- Gewürztraminer: 119 calories (164 calories for late-harvest, which has more residual sugar)
- Moscato: 122 calories
- Pinot Grigio: 122 calories
- Prosecco: 90 calories
- Riesling: 118 calories (calorie count will be higher for late-harvest)
- Sauvignon Blanc: 119 calories
Is a Glass of Wine Worth the Calories?
You'll never hear us say drinking a glass of wine is a bad idea, and it seems we're not the only ones. Researchers have long been studying the potential health benefits of wine, particularly red wine, and the news is promising.
For instance, there is some scientific evidence that the polyphenols in red wine — resveratrol is arguably the most famous of the bunch — have antioxidant properties that can lower the risk for coronary heart disease. What's more, other studies show that resveratrol is linked to weight loss. While these findings are certainly no excuse to go out and start guzzling down glasses of vino like there's no tomorrow, you also don't have to deny yourself the pleasure of sipping your favorite red, white, or rosé. It's all about moderation.
As it turns out, Usual Wines is the perfect way to enjoy delicious wine without worrying about soaring calorie counts. Here's a quick breakdown of each 5-ounce serving size for these top sellers:
- Usual Brut Sparkling Wine: 110 calories, 12% ABV, 0 added sugars
- Usual Rosé: 120 calories, 13.5% ABV, 0 added sugars
- Usual Brut Rosé: 100 calories, 12% ABV, 0 added sugars
- Usual Spritz: 83 calories, 8.5% ABV, 3 grams total sugar
Wine Isn't Just Empty Calories
From the food we eat to the wine we drink, we all know how important it is to be mindful about what we put into our bodies — and that includes keeping track of how many calories we consume. When asking about how many calories in a glass of wine, there isn't just one answer. It's roughly 100-160 calories per 5-ounce serving, but it depends on the varietal, the sugar content, and the alcohol content.
Sweet wines with more residual sugar and higher alcohol levels will have more calories. Conversely, dry white wines with lower alcohol levels tend to have fewer calories. Most wine labels don't have nutrition facts, so it's up to you to pay attention, do the math, and research the winemaker to learn more about their winemaking practices.
Here at Usual Wines, we proudly produce wine the Old-World, natural way with minimal processing and only clean, simple ingredients. For more ways to make the most of your wine drinking experience, browse through our knowledge base — we have so much to share!