The Skinny on Light Wine

A recent article referred to dieting as a national pastime. In fact, more than 45 million Americans will go on a diet 
this year. Dieting and journeying towards a healthy lifestyle is not an easy task and many people will ultimately fall short of their weight loss goals. Countless people are met with failure because they believe they have to immediately eliminate so many of the things that they love to eat and drink. As a general rule, alcohol has been deemed a diet pitfall. As with most things in life, however, wine can still be enjoyed in moderation when the right choices are made.
Most wine bottles do not have labels that detail the nutrition facts and serving sizes. It is important to note that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicates that a glass of wine is 5 ounces and approximately 123 calories. What might be of greater significance is the amount of alcohol in the wine. Dry wines have the lowest alcohol by volume (ABV) and, because they have less sugar, they naturally have fewer calories. The dry wines with the lowest alcohol tend to have between 9 and 12 percent ABV.
For the most part, white wines are lower in alcohol and calories than red wines. Riesling and Pinot Grigio can be considered light whites because they have a lower ABV, and therefore fewer calories, than white wines such as Moscato, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. As for red wines, drier wines will have fewer calories. When opting for a sparkling wine or champagne it is important to read the labels and select one that states “brut nature” or “brut zero.” This marking would imply that little to no sugar has been added; additional sugar would only add more calories. Lastly, wines from European countries tend to be lower in both alcohol and calories than wines produced in the United States. Italy, France, and Germany have more stringent laws and regulations in place with regards to alcohol content in wines. Wines that are marketed as light or low calorie contain grapes that were reaped when they were less mature and therefore contain less sugar and a lower alcohol content.
In the past few years, several brands of light wines have been introduced. The first lighter wine to burst onto the scene was Skinnygirl. Skinnygirl started small, but has now expanded to include 9 different wines: Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Moscato, California Rose Blend, California Red Blend, California White Blend, and Prosecco (a sparkling wine). They claim that their wines average 100 calories per 5 ounce glass. The Skinny Vine is another light wine brand. Slim Chardonnay, Mini Moscato, and Thin Zin are their low calorie options at 25 to 35 percent fewer calories than the typical glass of wine. The Skinny Vine wines average 85 to 95 calories per 5 ounce serving. The newest light wine was introduced just over a year ago but was over a decade in the making. New Zealand wine producers researched and tested for years in order to create the perfect low calorie wine. Brancott Estates offers several wines in their Flight Range. These wines are 20 percent lighter than their standard wines with just 85 to 90 calories in a glass. They offer Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, East Coast Rose, and a sparkling wine within their Flight Range.
If light wines are not an option there are still a few other tips and tricks for enjoying wine and still staying on track with weight loss goals. First and foremost, drink in moderation and do not overindulge. A single glass of wine at a meal is a good recommendation for dieters. In addition, if not stated on the wine list, it is a smart idea to ask a server or bartender about the amount of wine being served in a glass. Port wines and wine coolers should be avoided. Another option is to make a spritzer with a blend of wine and club soda with ice. Most importantly, plan ahead and budget calories for the day and enjoy a glass of wine!