Low Sugar Wine 101

It wasn’t an instant love affair, but I have come to really appreciate and enjoy wine. Price is usually the deciding factor when choosing a bottle (unless I am at my parents’ house and can raid my Dad’s stock). 

My focus recently has been on learning more about sugar content in wine. I try to be aware of “drinking my calories” and like to avoid drinks with added sugar. Previously, I had not given any thought to sugar in my wine. I was shocked to discover that one of my favourite reds had 17 grams of sugar per litre while my other favourite and comparable red only had 4 grams of sugar!  Now I am reading labels and sticking to low sugar options. 

How do you know the sugar content in a bottle of wine? Are there certain types of wine that are typically low in sugar? Red or White? Here’s what I have learned and use to help me pick low-sugar sips: 

General Guide for types of wine that have the least amount of sugar. 

Dry reds (1-3 grams of sugar per 5-ounce pour): Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah/Shiraz 

Dry whites (1-3 grams of sugar per 5 ounces): Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc 

Low-sugar sparkling wines (often about 2 grams of sugar per 5 ounces): Brut, Extra Brut, and Prosecco 

Words that usually indicate a higher sugar content: Late Harvest, Ice Wine, Dessert, Eiswein, Dolce, Demi Sec, Semi Sec, Asti Spumante, Moscato d’asti 

In Ontario, the LCBO has made it easy and quick to check the sugar content of all their wines. The grams of sugar per litre is outlined on the store’s label beneath each bottle of wine or you can use the Product Search on the LCBO website to look it up. My rule of thumb for choosing wine is 5 grams of sugar per litre or less!

Add sparkling water to your wine to make it even lighter. For Sangria, opt for unsweetened juice, agave nectar and lower sugar fruits. 

There are still issues around and questions about additives and chemicals in some wine. Much of the problem lies in the fact that alcoholic beverages are not required to have ingredient labels. Some wine makers are appealing to people who want a clean choice. Check out www.fitvinewine.com. Or this Canadian company BASK, that offers 0 sugar Pinot Noir, Crisp Rose and Sauvignon Blanc. www.baskwine.com. 

Cheers xx