Red wine is commonly cited as one of the healthiest alcoholic beverages for human consumption. A large part of this healthy view attributed to wine is a direct result of the presence of beneficial antioxidants in the wine. In fact, studies in recent years have shown that drinking one glass of red wine per day can improve overall heart health, limit the risk of future heart disease, increase good cholesterol levels, and even improve an individual’s motor functions. However, the introduction of all these positive health aspects associated with red wine doesn’t answer the initial question; how many calories in a bottle of red wine? There are approximately 125 calories in a standard, five-ounce serving of red wine—meaning 625 calories in each bottle of red wine.
In addition to the 625 calories present in a bottle of wine, the bottle will also contain 20 grams of carbohydrates. This is a surprisingly low amount of carbs present, which is undeniably beneficial to those drinking red wine. Beyond the calories and carbs, trace levels of sugar, protein, calcium, magnesium, and iron are present as well which could all pay off with slight health benefits when consumed consistently. It is the near-absolute lack of carbs present in red wine that is perhaps the most interesting tidbit regarding the beverage. Carbohydrates make up just about 11-13% of the total calories present in a bottle of red wine, while the other 87-89% of calories are made up solely of alcohol calories.
Do Different Red Wines Have More Calories Than Others?
Because the ingredient list for red wine is rather simple, the largest portion of the beverage’s calories come directly from the alcohol within the wine. This means that red wines with a higher alcohol content will also have more calories in each glass—and bottle, subsequently. While the range of abv in each wine will vary depending on your location, the majority of wines fall somewhere within the 9% to 16% range. Many of the red wines with a stronger alcohol content will also appear to be more filling, with an equal portion of that attributable to both the actual increase in calories as well as in the increased inebriation level reached by the drinker.
The simplest formula for calculating how many calories are in each glass of wine (depending on alcohol content) is as follows:
- % value of the wine X number of ounces of wine X 1.6 = The calorie content in your glass of red wine.
The 1.6 figure comes from the basic fact that each gram of alcohol contains 7 calories, while a single gram of carbohydrates contains a much lower 4 calories. This means that a 5-ounce serving of red wine with a 16% ABV would contain 128 calories, while a 5-ounce serving of red wine with a 10% ABV content would contain just 80 calories. Though, using 9% wine might mean that the drinker might have very little trouble finishing more than just one glass and end up downing another and adding to the ultimate calorie tally.
How Do Calories Compare Between Red Wine and White Wine?
Because of the deeper color of red wine, many drinkers believe that the caloric difference between red and white wines is drastic—it actually isn’t.
While you will find that red wines do have a few more calories than popular white wines, that has to do with red wines maintaining a higher alcohol content. When comparing the difference in calories between an 11% white wine and an 11% red wine, the difference in calories will likely range between 0-10. Additionally, red wines have almost 50% less natural sugar than white wines. Add in the presence of lutein in red wines—which is absent in white wines—and any difference in calories basically offsets itself health-wise through a comparison of other aspects of the wines.
One thing that may have wine drinkers convinced that red wines are heavier than they are (or that white wines are lighter than they are) relates to what foods they are consuming in addition to their wines. While many red wines are paired with hearty, carbohydrate-heavy super suppers, white wine drinkers tend to consume their Chardonnay and assorted favorites with much lighter culinary fare. The next time you drink a red or a white, think about what you are eating and whether or not that may have a slight impact on your view of the wine.
Are There Ways to Offset Wine Calories?
If you are really looking to sneak a few extra glasses of wine per week without having to beat yourself up over it trying to burn off those extra calories, you might consider pairing your glasses of wine with more refreshing snacks when you do wine and dine.
One of the most popular pairings is fruit boards with a wide variety of your favorite wines—both red and white. Some of the highlights you might enjoy, include:
- Golden Delicious or Granny Smith apples with a fine international Chardonnay.
- Cantaloupe scoops to pair with a Port wine normally saved for dessert.
- Figs as an ideal complement to a merlot.
Really, any combination of your favorite fruit with your favorite red wine or white wine will help you come away feeling lighter even after drinking an extra glass of wine. It normally is not the wine itself, but the food pairings that people choose that leave them bloated, too full, or overall uncomfortable. Wine really just gets an unfair, bad reputation in many instances. But you can counteract that by eating fresh and pairing juicy fruit with amazing wines.
What Nutritional Benefits Does Red Wine Have?
The most common benefits espoused by red wine lovers usually deal with helping with relaxation. But it seems now that each and every year another study is conducted that reveals a little bit more of the positive effects red wine can have on a diet in moderation.
The greatest benefits are usually seen in an individual’s cholesterol levels. Not only does red wine do an admirable job of lowering bad cholesterol levels, but it can also help drop cholesterol overall. The heart also benefits from drinking red wine in moderation, as the presence of the antioxidants known as polyphenols strengthens and helps blood vessels become more bendy and malleable to help prevent future clotting.
The wide range of antioxidants in red wine do more than protect your heart though, as antioxidants are integral in fighting infection, protecting the body from the sprawl of free radicals, and basically maintaining general defenses within you.
Perhaps the most mysterious and highly publicized antioxidant in red wine is resveratrol. In recent years, resveratrol has been at the center of countless research studies and health surveys. Researchers and medical professionals alike believe that resveratrol could potentially stunt the growth of cancer cells while also protecting artery walls from being overrun with fat cells. In the next few years, more information will almost certainly be released regarding the benefits of resveratrol, and then we might see the red wine market explode even more than we have already witnessed.
Are There Wines with Low Alcohol Content and High Calories?
In recent years as the demand for wines that are lower in alcohol content has risen, the production techniques by many wine manufacturers are slightly changed. Look no further than the residual sugar levels found in many of the new, low-calorie wines and dessert wines as proof of this shift in taste and focus among the wine community.
While many of the dry wines will have residual sugar levels as low as 0.2%, dessert wines and sweeter moscato-like wines can have residual sugar levels exceeding 10% and sometimes as high as 15%. These high levels will obviously impact the calorie levels of the wines in question, and can often lead to increased propensity for hangovers as well. The hangover debate has raged on for decades, and perhaps even centuries or millennia dating back to the earliest drinkers of wine; is it the sulfites, the sugars, the dryness, or what that gives many wines such a serious likelihood to induce hangover? Until that question is truly resolved, just be careful to take notice of the residual sugar levels in wine, as you may not be getting as high an alcohol content yet still having to intake all the calories.
How Many Calories are in Two Bottles of Wine?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with cooking a lovely feast for yourself, or perhaps a feast for you and a loved one, and pulling out between two and four bottles of wine. In fact, two bottles of wine are precisely what some of the tougher days and longer weeks call for as we get older. As was stated earlier, the majority of red wines will contain around 125 calories. With the standard pour being 5 ounces per glass, and the standard bottle containing 5 glasses, your generic red wine will likely contain somewhere around 625 calories.
This means that two bottles of your favorite Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Malbec will contain around 1,250 calories. Wine drinkers, as is common knowledge, love to cherish their wine and drink it slowly—enjoying the aeration and the overall experience of the bottle, understandably. This means that two bottles of wine would likely be enjoyed over a span of multiple hours, or perhaps even multiple meals. Keeping that in mind, 1,250 calories is not very much at all—about 500 less than a Triple Whopper at Burger King. So, the next time somebody wants to criticize you for drinking two bottles of wine, ask them when the last time they had a triple burger was. Then offer them a glass of red wine and laugh at how comical life can be sometimes.
If you’d like to pop the same number of bottles but intake slightly less calories, then using a sparkling wine or nice, refreshing champagne could also be an option. Many champagne servings are slightly smaller four-ounce pours, and also contain half as many carbohydrates—so you might end up with more burps than calories when it is all said and done. While some of this is related to the lower amount of alcohol you’re actually consuming, if you pick your brands right then two bottles of 12% alcohol champagne can come in at just under 1,000 calories.
What Does All of This Tell Us About Red Wine (And Wine in General)?
Red wine has been linked to countless positive health benefits, though many are directly related to the polyphenols and other abundant antioxidants within the wine. Because of these antioxidants, doctors recommend a glass of red wine per night as a means of curbing bad cholesterol, improving aortic flexibility and overall heart health, and maintaining defenses against free radicals and the spread of dangerous infectious cells.
While the health benefits might not vary between types of red wines, the calorie counts sometimes will—as the number of calories in a wine is often dependent on the alcohol content of the wine itself. Commonly, a five-ounce glass of wine will contain 125 calories. This means that the average bottle of wine will contain 625 calories, although wines that are higher in alcohol content (think 14% and above) may contain more than that 125 calories per glass and 625 calories per bottle. Conversely, lower-calorie wines can sometimes contain less than 100 calories per glass.
Red wine and white wine contain nearly the exact same number of calories; any differences in calories will usually be minor and can be traced to the alcohol content of the specific wine. Red wines and white wines are both excellent additions to any meal (when drank in moderation), and create wonderful, complementary pairs with fruit plates and refreshing snack dishes of all types. Feeling self-conscious and finding yourself counting calories in your wine is likely a thing of the past, as the majority of focus being placed upon wine currently relates to its position at the center of a handful of medical studies attempting to gauge the entire range of wine’s possible benefits.
If you’re looking for an alcoholic beverage with moderate calories, high class, and a propensity to be praised by the medical profession multiple times a year as a good health catalyst, red wine might be for you. Grab yourself a glass—or two bottles even—and enjoy the mix of antioxidants, alcohol, and adulthood.
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