Wine sugar and calories 4-6-2022

Perhaps you encountered the recent Cassandrian caterwauling of Neo-Prohibitionists about wine. Wine is loaded with sugar and calories and certain to cause health problems!

A study cited by the Alcohol Health Alliance in the U.K. (a Neo-Prohibitionist group) noted guidelines recommend ingesting no more than 30 grams of free sugars a day. Horrors—sip two standard five-ounce glasses of a popular wine—Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato—and you have swallowed 27.6 grams of sugar. They also pontificated that two glasses of wine have more calories than a McDonald’s hamburger.

Alarming stuff, no? The devil is in the details and illuminates how advocates will find and cherry-pick statistics to back up apocalyptic claims. Or make stuff up if they need to.

Yes, Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato delivers sugar. But it is far from the norm. The U.K. group analyzed 30 wines. Seven—all sweet wines or fruit wines—contained more than 3.1 grams of sugar per ounce—15.5 grams in a five-ounce pour. Nineteen of the 30 wines contained less than two grams of sugar, eleven less than one gram. And those low-sugar wines were wines you likely drink: chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, sauvignon blanc.

Yeah, but what about more calories than a McDonald’s burger? In the study, an average five-ounce glass of wine ranged from 75 to 139 calories. The average: 117 calories—234 calories for two standard pours. According to McDonald’s, their simplest hamburger contains 250 calories. A Big Mac contains 550 calories.

Two glasses of wine deliver more calories than a McDonald’s hamburger? Even the Neo-Prohibitionists ’ own data does not support their Chicken Little claim.

It should be no surprise. The Neo-Prohibitionists goal is to frighten you away from drinking wine. Something to consider as you sip your next glass of the fruit of the vine.

Tasting notes:

• Alessandro di Camporeale Grillo Vigna di Mandranova, Sicilia DOC 2018: Flaunts grillo’s fresh fruitiness. Crisp with intriguing minerality-saline notes on the finale after the citrus and green apple first act. $13-16 Link to my review

• Zenato Lugana di San Benedetto Bianco 2020: Excellent expression of trebbiano grape. Fresh, lively, appropriate acidity, polished, balanced, long finish. $14-20 Link to my review

• L’Ecole No. 41 Merlot Columbia Valley 2018: Marvelous merlot effort by merlot maestro in Washington State. Soft, plush, palate-pleasing exemplar of excellence. $23-27 Link to my review

Last round: I got angry when Mark plagiarized my wine review. I told him: “Mark, my words!”