People often ask me about the calories in red wine. This is a frequent question, since they are not listed on the bottle. As of today, this is not a requirement for producers.
In the average glass of dry red wine, the count is anywhere from 120 to 130. This is for a 5-ounce glass. This is the typical amount given to you when you order a glass in a restaurant or a bar.
However, be cautious when you order a bottle or serve at home. Most glasses average in size around 12 to 14 ounces. If you pour too much, the count adds up quickly.
Where do the calories in red wine come from? For dry reds, most are from the alcohol and residual sugars. Wines with slightly less alcohol have fewer calories.
Here is a chart with information from the USDA National Nutrition Database. Each count is based on a 5-ounces.
Dessert and sweet reds have even more. This is due to the increased amount of residual sugar in these types.
The count in these types of wines are in the table below. Again, this information is from the USDA National Nutrition Database. Each red wine calorie count is for a 5-ounce glass.
Heavier, sweet reds such as Port have even more calories. Although its count is not officially listed on the USDA's National Nutrition Database, I did find several sources that say a 5 ounce glass of Port can include up to around 200 calories.
One question that also comes up is the difference between reds and those in whites. The initial reaction is that white has fewer calories. Well, this is not always the case.
The most common white is Chardonnay. This white averages about 123 calories for a 5-ounce glass. When you compare it to the chart above, you will see it is pretty similar.
Most dry, whites are around 118 to 125 calories, so just a little less than reds. However, the count in whites skyrockets when you look at the sweet whites. Sweeter wines have more residual sugar, so the count in these wines is higher.
The highest count I found was for late harvest white wines. They are a staggering 172 calories for a 5-ounce glass. This is almost 35 an ounce!
The most important rule, as I mentioned above, is to watch the size of your glass. The average glass holds quite a bit more than the quoted 5 ounces and it is easy to pour twice that amount in just one glass.
Drink wines with a little less alcohol. This will reduce the overall number you consume.
Another tip is to stay away from the sweeter wines. They contain almost 50 more for a 5-ounce glass or 10 more per ounce.
Overall, if you are just planning to drink a glass or two, the calories in a dry, red wine are not significant. Moderation is the key to both enjoy it and keep the calorie count to a minimum.
Keep in mind that the numbers above are approximate. The count can increase or decrease based on the alcohol volume or the residual sugars in your specific variety.
You might also enjoy some of these other health related topics:
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