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Wine News

Wine labels could help calorie-counting dieters

Wine labels could soon be required to include information on calorie intake. That was the message from the health minister, Caroline Flint, speaking at the recent Wine and Spirit Trade Association conference. Although wine companies may see it as yet another thing on their growing checklist to fulfil labelling legislation, there’s no doubt that such a move would help dieters.

Presently, it’s not that easy for those watching their waistline to know how many calories are in their glass of wine because both sugar and alcohol have to be taken into consideration.

As a basic guide, dry white wine contains less calories than sweet wine. So, typically, a small glass (125ml) of a dry white wine will have 83 calories compared to 94 calories for a medium-dry one. It’s also the case that more alcohol equals more calories. So, a small glass of red wine that’s 12.5% ABV will have 86 calories, whereas a big, beefy red at 14.5% ABV will have 100 calories, explained David Bird, author of Understanding Wine Technology.

Swap any of these for the same-sized glass of a sweet wine – one with 50 grams per litre of residual sugar - and the figure bumps up to 125 calories. Yet higher still calorifically are the most luscious sweet wines, some of which easily notch up sugar levels of around 250 grams per litre.

So if you are counting calories, the thing to avoid is the sweet wine rather than fussing about whether it is 12 or 14 per cent, said David. ‘It’s the sugar that’s going to knock up the calories.’