First, it needs to be established that, yes, there are calories in wine. Indeed, almost anything you eat or drink contains calories unless it is made of almost entirely of water or chemicals. However, calories should be considered fuel for the body and a body will not function well without an adequate supply of fuel. That said, the calories in wine need to be counted if you are watching your weight.
Wine As A Fuel Source
Typically, there are around 200 calories in an average-sized glass of wine. An average-sized glass is considered to be 4oz to 6oz, so in a 750ml bottle, there are roughly five to six glasses of wine at most. There are red wine glasses available today that can hold almost a full bottle of wine so it is important to consider the size of the glass when counting the calories in wine. A 750ml bottle of wine will generally contain between 300 and 500 calories.
Not all wines contain the same number of calories. Some of the drier white wines, for example, Sauvignon Blanc, white Zinfandel, and Chablis are at the lower end of the calorie scale ñ around 80 calories per glass. Red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Merlot tend to be in the mid-range ñ around 95 calories per glass. Champagne contains around 100ñ105 calories per glass.
The really high-calorie wines are the fortified wines like Port, Madeira, Muscatel and Tokay. These wines typically contain between 165 and 185 calories per glass. However, it should be noted that these wines are usually served in smaller glasses.
Having established the existence of calories in wine it is important to count them in your daily dietary intake if you enjoy a glass of wine or two with a meal. However, it is also worthwhile to keep the number of calories in perspective. Compared to a cheeseburger the calories in wine appear almost negligible. A cheeseburger can have up to1000 calories and can include as much fat as a body might require in a month! At least wine is fat-free. The calories come from the sugar and the carbohydrates. So wine in moderation can usually be included in a calorie-controlled diet.
The Benefits of Wine
Regardless of the calories contained in wine, there are many documented benefits to drinking it in moderation. Wine can enhance the food we eat and act as an aid to digestion. Red wine, in particular, has potential benefits in that it is believed to help protect against certain forms of cancer and heart disease. Studies have shown a reduction of 30% to 50% in heart disease of people who regularly drink a glass of red wine each night and a 20% reduction in death from certain cancers.
The health benefits of drinking wine are often attributed to the so-called “French Paradox”, whereby the French ñ even with a diet high in fat ñ don’t suffer from heart attacks at the same rate as North Americans. This has been attributed to their moderate, though steady, wine consumption.
So perhaps it’s time to stop focusing on the calories in wine and instead focus on the health benefits … in moderation, of course.