Ask IWG: Understanding Calories and Sulfites in Wine

Calories and sulfites in wineN. Callan from Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland asks the following:

I was recently asked about calories in wines. How do you know calorie count in wines? Is there any difference in grape variety, country, red or white? Is there any way of giving a rough estimate judging from origin, grape, alcohol %? I know there is the weight watchers wine range but its the tens of thousands of other wines available that i'm enquiring about.

I'm also wondering is it law now to state that wines contain sulphites? Most labels state this now but didn't in the past. I know they must be added so a wine will last awhile in bottle.

 

Thanks for sending in your #askIWG question!

Since 1988 (maybe 1987) it has been a Federal law that any product containing a carcinogenic must state the name of the carcinogenic on the lable - hence "contains sulfites."

There are two aspects of the law that are not often talked about.  First, there are exceptions to the law, for example, orange juice does not have to state it contains a carcinogenic.  In fact, OJ can contain as much as 10 times the amount of sulfites as wine.  Second, there is no reference to the quantity of the carcinogenic needed to replicate the cancer problems observed in the test animals (usually rats).  A person would have to drink about a 1000 gallons of wine a day for 10 years to replicate the levels of sulfites artifically placed in the test animals.  I don't think that is going to happen.

The law states carcinogenic "at any level" must be listed.  So, if you get do to parts per billion or parts per trillion it is still "at any level."

There are about 120 calories in a 4 oz glass of wine - red or white doesn't make a difference; there are substantially more calories in a late harvest or dessert wine.

For a complete overview of calculating calories in wine, visit this IWG blog post:

http://www.internationalwineguild.com/calorie-counter-for-wine

Learn all about these questions and more through the IWG Quick Class Finder:
http://www.internationalwineguild.com/quick-class-finder

Thanks again for your question!

More Questions? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.

 

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