There are a growing number of health-conscious wine enthusiasts who would like to be able to track their calorie intake through wine as easily as they track their food choices.
Unfortunately, wine producers are not required to list nutritional information like calories contained in the bottle, making it tough to track calorie counts when it comes to wine.
So, we have put together a guide so you can pick out which wine has the least calories while appeasing your palette and dietary needs.
Calories Contained in Wine
When it comes to the number of calories contained in any given glass of wine, there are a huge number of variables that make it more difficult to estimate when compared with other beverages. A dry glass of white wine will contain far fewer calories than sweet red wine.
One of the most important factors when it comes to estimating the caloric content of a glass of wine is the grape varietal that was used to produce it. Different grapes contain different levels of naturally occurring sugars, which lead to calories in the finished wine.
While there are different estimated calorie levels for wines made with different grape varietals, things can become much more tricky when it comes to blends. Red blends in particular are very popular in California and can vary greatly in caloric content.
Full-bodied and sweet or “jammy” red wine grapes like Zinfandel tend to produce wines with the most calories due to the fact that they contain higher levels of sugar than other grapes. It is estimated that an average five-ounce pour of Zinfandel contains around 129 calories.
Lighter varieties of red wine tend to contain lower calorie contents when compared to more full-bodied varieties, and light reds like Carignan can contain as few as 109 calories per five-ounce pour.
For perspective, the most popular wine grape in the world, Cabernet Sauvignon contains 122 calories per pour, and Gamay from the French region of Beaujolais can contain as few as 115 calories per glass.
For this reason, red wine blends are particularly difficult to estimate when it comes to the calories. A red blend composed of Gamay and Cabernet Sauvignon will vary greatly in calorie count depending on the amount of each wine that is used in the blend.
Dessert wines contain more calories than any other style of wine due to the elevated levels of sugar contained in each glass. Port is estimated to contain around 103 calories per two-ounce pour, which would equate to 325 calories in a full five-ounce pour.
Low Calorie White Wines
In general, it is best to stick to drw white wines with a fairly low alcohol content when searching for a bottle of wine that contains the fewest calories. While there are certain brands that market themselves as “low-calorie wines,” grape varietal is the most important factor.
Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most popular wine grapes in the world, and it makes for a fantastic fit for those looking to enjoy a bit of flavor in their wine without dealing with the high-calorie count of heavier whites.
Depending on where it is produced, Sauvignon Blanc can contain a number of distinct tasting notes that can range from “grassy” or earthy to fruity with notes of grapefruit and peach. Earthier versions are found throughout France, while New Zealand is home to fruitier styles.
The Marlborough wine-producing region is located on the northern portion of New Zealand’s south island, and it produces crisp and aromatic representations of Sauvignon Blanc that carry aromas and tasting notes of fruits like grapefruit and white peach.
Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand is generally quite low in calories, with the average five ounce pour containing around 119. The fruity aromas of white peach and grapefruit lead to bold flavors in a dry white wine that is low in sugar.
Cloudy Bay is one of the most recognizable bottles to come out of the Marlborough region and helped to put the area on the map for many wine enthusiasts around the world. It makes for a great white wine option for those who are counting calories.
Riesling is another great option for those who are trying to keep an eye on their caloric intake, as long as dry varieties are chosen. Riesling is also used to make late-harvest dessert wine and even Icewine, which are both very high in sugar and calories.
The average glass of dry Riesling will contain somewhere around 118 calories, making it one of the best low-calorie white wine options. More full-bodied styles of white wine like Chardonnay and Moscado can contain 120 to 122 calories per five-ounce serving.
Low Calorie Red Wines
When shopping for a bottle of red wine that is fairly low in calories, it is important to choose a grape varietal that produces wines that are light and not too sweet. Light red wines contain significantly fewer calories compared to their more full-bodied counterparts.
While red wines generally contain more calories compared to white and sparkling wines, lighter styles of red wine are similar in calorie count to full-bodied representations of white wine.
Pinot Noir and Gamay both produce light-bodied red wines that are low in both residual sugar and calories while providing plenty of flavor and complexity on the palate. While French Pinot Noir can be very expensive, the finest bottles of Gamay are reasonably priced.
Resonance Pinot Noir is an affordable bottle of light red wine from the world-famous Willamette Valley wine region of Oregon that is quickly gaining popularity and is a fantastic option for calorie-conscious wine enthusiasts.
Some of the most high-end bottles of Pinot Noir are produced in the Burgundy region of France, and they are well known to be both low in calories and high in price. A single bottle from one of the top producers like Domaine de la Romanee-Conti can cost up to five digits depending on the vintage.
Some of the finest bottles of Gamay in the world are also produced in France, not too far from the region of Burgundy. The Beaujolais region is located just south of Burgundy, and it produces easy-drinking red wines that are light and low in calories.
Yvon Metras Fleurie is one of the best bottles of Gamay in the entire world, and it is one of the best low-calorie red wine options on the market. It can also be purchased for under $100, making it one of the best-valued wines.
Low Calorie Sparkling Wines
When it comes to low-calorie wines that deliver plenty of flavor and character, sparkling wines are some of the best options on the market. Sparkling wine is produced all over the world, and there are certain styles that are best for those counting calories.
Prosecco is one of the most popular styles of sparkling wine on the market, and it is both affordable and low in calories making it a favorite of health-conscious wine enthusiasts all over the world.
Prosecco is produced in the Veneto region of Italy, where the “tank method” is used to carbonate large quantities of wine at once. This is a much more economical way to produce wine when compared with other methods, leading to an affordable product.
It may come as a surprise to many wine enthusiasts that Prossecco is low in calories, as it generally has a fairly sweet taste accompanied by distinct large bubbles. The driest representations of Prosecco can contain as few as 90 calories per five-ounce pour.
Lamarca is one of the top producers of Prossecco in the entire world, and they have a full line of sparkling wines that are readily available, very affordable, and low in calories making it one of the best low-calorie choices for sparkling wine on the market.
Champagne is perhaps the most famous sparkling alcoholic beverage in the entire world, and it is home to some of the finest and most expensive bottles of sparkling wine on planet earth.
In general, bottles of Champagne are fairly low in calories, provided that they are of the drier style and not one of the sweeter styles that are produced. Brut Zero is the driest version and contains as few as 125 calories per five-ounce serving.
Dom Perignon produces some of the most sought-after and famous bottles of Champagne in the entire world, and it can be found at high-end wine bars and restaurants all over the world.
Other Low Calorie Wine Options
There are some people who are on strict diets or simply do not want to consume the full amount of calories contained in a given glass of wine. This is one of the reasons wine-based spritzers and cocktails have been gaining popularity, as they contain far fewer calories than wine alone.
Wine cocktails are a great way to deliver huge amounts of flavor and refreshment without stacking up the calories or carbohydrates, and they are often served with flavorful fruit-based and herbal garnishes.
One of the most popular recipes that make for a great option at summertime parties and outdoor events is the “White Wine Skinny Mojito” by food blogger Kate Crenshaw. It brings full fruit flavors and is extremely refreshing while still being healthy and low in calories.
Another popular way to liven up a glass of wine while keeping it low in calories is by mixing up a white wine or Rosé bases spritzer. They are as simple to make as adding cold white wine too cold club soda and adding a squeeze of citrus fruit like lime, lemon, or orange.
Red wine spritzers can also be delicious and refreshing, though it is important to stay away from the fruit juices that are sometimes added as juice is high in both sugar and calories, defeating the purpose of mixing up a wine spritzer for many people.
Which Wine Has the Least Calories? – Conclusion
There are many reasons to keep an eye on caloric intake, and many people have switched to lighter styles of wine from sweeter sugary cocktails in search of a high-quality drink that is low in calories.
A glass of light and dry wine is a much better option for those who are counting calories when compared to a Jack and Coke or a Margarita.