How Much Sugar Is In Wine? | Your Health & Wine

23rd June 2021

Excess sugar consumption has well-documented negative impacts on your health. It has been warned against for decades and with good reason.

Sugar has been linked to obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, and cardiovascular disease, to name just a few. If you enjoy a glass or two of wine and are looking to reduce your sugar intake, you should know how much sugar is in each glass of wine. Let’s dive right in and take a closer look at whether wine contains any sugar and how much is considered a safe to drink each week.

What Is In A Glass Of Wine?

In basic terms, wine is made from fermented grapes. The process of fermentation releases primary, secondary and tertiary aromas and flavours. These are referred to as ‘tasting notes’ of the final wine. The taste of each wine is unique and is influenced by the type of grape, the soil the vines are grown in, how long the skin is left in contact with the grape juice, what type of container the wine ferments or ages in, and finally, any artificial additives added to the wine by the winemaker. All of this will influence what is in your glass of wine and how much sugar it contains.

During the process of fermentation, the wine will react with the air and natural and added yeasts to produce various chemical compounds. These include amino acids, esters, minerals, phenols, acids, acetaldehyde, glycerol, sulphites, alcohol, and, most importantly, sugar.

How Many Grams Per Litre Of Sugar Is There Per Glass Of Wine?

Grapes naturally contain sugar, and it is the sugar that turns the grape juice into wine. Naturally occurring sugars in grapes are converted into alcohol during the fermentation process. There will be residual sugar left in most wines as not all the sugar ends up being fermented. This is the primary source of sugar in your glass of wine. The sugar content in wine ranges depending on the type of wine and its individual fermentation process. Wines typically range from 0 to 220 grams of sugar per litre. Although there isn’t a sure-fire way to gauge how much sugar is in a glass of wine, you can get a pretty good idea from how sweet the wine tastes, where you have purchased it from and

Reputable online wine retailers will tell you how many grams per litre each individual wine has. Winemakers make a note of this as part of their technical analysis and testing before it is signed off as safe for human consumption. If a wine is described as ‘dry,’ there is less than 10 grams per litre of residual sugar. In comparison, dessert wines can contain more than 30 grams per litre. Wines falling in the middle of these two extremes are known as off-dry or semi sweet wines.

Sugar per glass of wine
The typical amount of sugar per glass of wine | By style
Is The Sugar In Wine Natural Or Artificial?

The good news is that as wine is a fruit product, it almost always contains natural sugars. Health experts frown less upon natural sugars – as long as it’s consumed in moderation. The NHS’ Eatwell Guide recommends that carbohydrates including sugar, starch, and fiber should make up about a third of your diet. However, filling a third of your daily calorie intake with just sugar is not good for your health. As such, stay cautious while consuming wine – even though it may just contain natural sugars. Be aware that the big supermarket chains like Aldi, Tesco, and Sainsbury produce a lot of wine. They all add artificial sugar and fruit concentrate to sweeten the wine they sell. They do this to hide imperfections in the wine. It is these added, artificial sugars in wine that you need to watch out for.

How Much Wine Should You Drink A Week?

Early research suggests that consuming a moderate amount of wine can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. However, wine still contains alcohol, and the fact that alcohol consumption is detrimental to your health is well-researched. But this does not mean that you have to abstain from drinking wine altogether. As with all alcohol, drinking responsibly is the key to maintaining your health. And in terms of wine, that means just around 2 to 3 glasses a week. We recommend following the Chief Medical Officers guidelines for alcohol consumption. Be honest with yourself and seek professional help if you are having trouble controlling your drinking habits.

Low Sugar Wines

One glass of wine can contain anywhere from 1 to 15 grams of sugar, depending on the the style. The sweetness of the wine can sometimes serve as a good yardstick for measuring how much sugar is in it. Red wines typically have the least amount of sugar, followed by white wines and then dessert wines. Dessert wines contain nearly 16 times the amount of sugar in a glass of red wine and eight times more than that in white wines. Different styles of wine within each category will also vary. As an example for white wines, Riesling will typically have more residual sugar than a Chardonnay.

Low Sugar Red Wines
Low Sugar White Wines

As discussed above, sugar is tied to various health concerns. Alcohol is also a leading cause of several diseases, including damage to the liver and kidneys, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Too much of anything good can be harmful, especially when it comes to alcohol and sugar. Pick your wines with care and stick to drinking small amounts of low-sugar red wines. Take care of your health by being aware of the amount of sugar in each wine and drinking in moderation.

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