Malternatives and Wine Coolers

Wine: An Efficient Choice... Usually

Unlike beer, wine is much easier to gauge from an efficiency standpoint. Most wine is near 100%, meaning that almost all calories are from alcohol. Beyond that, there is one important distinction to determine efficiency and calories: not red wine vs. white wine, but rather dry vs. sweet. Dry wine ferments almost all of the grape juice, leaving little residual sugar (related blog post coming soon). So, dry wine has few empty calories. Sweet wine, however, has either residual or added sugar, therefore more calories and lower efficiency. Note that anything labeled wine product" is probably not a great choice for efficiency, or anything else, for that matter.

Unlike brewers, winemakers publish ABV (alcohol by volume) but not calories. So, to be sure, stick with traditional varietals and blends, which all tend towards dry. Although the list is long, below are some examples:

  • cabernet sauvignon
  • chardonnay
  • malbec
  • merlot
  • pinot grigio
  • pinot noir
  • sauvignon blanc
  • syrah

Wine Calorie Calculator     Basic | Advanced

Basic is a general guide for any of the efficient varietals listed above. 4g/L sugar is assumed.
Note: A typical glass is 5 oz. and a typical bottle is 750mL.


Dessert and Sweet Wines

This subclass of wine is less efficient than the traditional varietals. There is a significant amount of empty calories resulting from unfermented or added sugars. Let's take a look at a few different sweet wines' ABV, sugar content and efficiency:

Champagne and Sparkling Wine

The sugar level, which is driven by post-fermentation sugar addition determines its classification and drives champagne's calories and efficiency. From least sugar to most, with estimated (calories per 750 mL bottle | efficiency) :