Wine Tip – How much sugar is in wine?

There is nothing like a nice glass (or two) of wine accompanying a great meal with great friends. But unfortunately most of us were not blessed with the “skinny” genes! So to keep our waste line fit we have to be aware of what and how much we consume! And sadly most yummy things come at a price 🙁

Many red and white wines taste dry (as in “not sweet”) but contain small to moderate amounts of sugar. The question is, how much? And, is there some way to identify wines with or without residual sugar? And since I am not an expert on wine (by any stretch of the imagination), I sought help from Wine Folly! And here is what they share on their site.

The sugar in wine essentially comes from the fruit sugars in wine grapes (fructose and glucose). Of course, some cheap wine producers will use sugar or grape concentrate to sweeten a wine. (good reason to stick to good quality wine!)

Wine Folly

If you can’t find a technical sheet, or if the Residual Sugar (name given to sugar in wine) is not listed, here are a few tips:

  1. Cheap wine usually has residual sugar. It’s safe to assume that most affordable (sub-$10) wines from the US contain some residual sugar, perhaps anywhere from 2–15 g/L. There are, of course, excellent exceptions to this rule so look for more information first.
  2. Buy better wine. If you spend a little more on a bottle of wine, say around $15–20, producers tend to feature less residual sugar (if any at all). Grapes are higher quality so the wines don’t need sweetness to taste fruity.
  3. Drink less. Even at 15 g/L RS, a wine will only add about 7.5 sugar calories. Like with all things, your best bet might just be moderation.

Below are examples of common red wines with residual sugar:

In conclusion, it’s reassuring to know that premium wines (that taste dry) generally carry less sugar. But a little sugar in your wine isn’t such a bad thing! A little sugar adds richness, complexity and body to wine.

But of course, everything in moderation!
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