Tips for Buying Wine if You're Calorie Conscious

Happy New Year! Resolution season is officially upon us, which for many means diets and dry January. If that’s you — congrats! You made it through the first week and weekendwhich is always the hardest :)
And despite needing to make a living on alcohol sales, I’m all for people doing whatever they need to do to feel good, happy and healthy, even if that means a little break from the booze. However, on my grocery run this week I passed by a massive, totally misleading “Healthy/Fit/Clean Wine” display that hit a nerve so bad, I couldn’t resist taking this moment to do a little PSA:
Alcohol (wine included) is not a health or wellness product. And no matter how much marketing jargon is out there, drinking a bottle of wine will not help you get fit or lose weight...even if the label has a little buff runner on it. 🙂
The truth: there are so many different wines in the market with varying degrees of sugar/alcohol content and thus, different calorie counts. Unfortunately there’s not a lot of transparency as to what’s in every bottle of wine you consume, but the industry is evolving and I’m certain we’ll see a shift here within the next few years. Until then, you don’t need to buy a wine identified as “fit” or “clean” in order to drink a wine that’s not a calorie bomb. 
My plea: spend your money on quality wine, and not marketing gimmicks.
Here are some practical tips for buying wine if you’re calorie conscious or looking to cut back a bit...
1. Look for wines that are dry and low ABV.
The least caloric wine you can drink is wine that is dry (no residual sugar), and lower alcohol (ABV between 6-11%). Yes these wines do exist. The old adage that high alcohol means the wine is dry and lower alcohol means the wine is sweet is not an overarching truth, and it completely oversimplifies the many variables in the winemaking process. You can find many dry, low ABV wines from cooler climate regions. Check out some great dry, low ABV wines!

2. If you see one of the following words listed below, pass! 

Please note: many wines with residual sugar are absolutely delicious. But for the calorie conscious, avoid avoid avoid!

3. Believe it or not, Sparkling wines are great options! 
If you’re a sparkling wine lover (like me) you can rest easy knowing many Champagnes, Crémants and Cavas are not calorie bombs. The key is making sure you select bottles that say “Brut Nature” or “Extra Brut”. As for Pet-Nats, since they finish their primary fermentation in the bottle to create natural bubbles, majority ferment to dry. Enjoy 🙂 

4. Mass-market, bulk wines (typically bottles that retail for $10 or less) tend to be higher in residual sugar and thus, more caloric. Why? Oftentimes mass-market wines are really just brands with no actual winery or vineyard — meaning they’re buying bulk, white-labeled wine and there’s no way of knowing what you’re getting. This does not mean ALL mass market wines are low quality or full of sugar - some are fantastic! It just means that since the source is unknown, you could be drinking a high quality, single vineyard gem that just was in surplus, or you could be drinking a mish-mash of subpar wines that are blended and punched up with sugar. If you want more transparency on what you’re drinking, steer clear.

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