How Many Calories in a Glass of Pinot Grigio?
I often get asked these questions on my blog even though it is aimed at alcohol free choices. Bizarrely how many calories in a glass of pinot grigio comes up a lot.
When I push people on why they are asking they reply that “ they drink rather a lot of it!”
Actually the penny then drops, its actually the calories that is the worry not the alcohol. However, the good news is that people do consider alcohol free wines in the hope that it can reduce their calorie intake.
Alas if that is your reason you might be party disappointed but fear not the question of how many calories in pinot grigio could lead you to trying out alcohol free choices as a way or reducing your overall calorie intake.
I get it totally as when you realize how much alcohol and calories there is in a glass of wine you say “what!”.
People start to look to make changes at all levels.
However, not all glasses of pinot grigio will have the exact number of calories year after year, it will depend on the brand the grapes and the fermentation. We are not talking about a standard mars bar here.
Let’s take a bottle of pinot grigio I recently saw on the supermarket shelf. It is has an alcohol by volume of 11.5% and the label on the back showed 490 Calories per 750ml.
So how does it all get worked out then?
How are the calories worked out in a glass of pinot grigio?
Saying it is all about the alcohol is not the complete story as it’s also about the sugar and of course the volume of wine you drink.
Let talk about ethanol for a moment which is a name not usually associated with alcohol and yet is at the heart of an alcoholic beverage. Its part of the same family.
Ethanol is in lots of things including even soaps and underarm deodorants, I tend to avoid them like the plague. So we could call it lots of things like
- ethyl alcohol
- grain alcohol
It actually has a chemical formula which is C2H5OH. So now you know!
Ethanol is a chemical and is actually a poison to humans and for goodness’ sake it is used in solvents and petrol !
Ethanol is what makes us drunk in a glass of pinot grigio and many other alcohol based drinks. Contrary to what many people ask me on this blog – it does not have so called “goodness” like antioxidants.
It is actually empty calories.
So most of the calories in a glass of pinot grigio come from ethanol. If you think of it this way every 1gram of alcohol is equivalent to 7 Kcal.
A drinking unit of 10 g of alcohol will contain 70 Kcal.
Putting it bluntly the more alcohol in the wine the greater the number of calories. So you need to look at ABV alcohol by volume which is a legal requirement on all alcohol labels and it is how I can tell if my alcohol free wine and spirits have any alcohol in them.
It’s kind of useful in more ways than one.
In terms of Pinot Grigo it’s pretty average in terms of its percentage abv. For example so-called fortified wine will really be up there in the calories stake.
So checking the alcohol by volume in a bottle of pinot grigio can be a good first step to comparing it in terms of calories to other wines.
Remember everything is on the label!
Remember grapes have sugar.
Yes grapes do have plenty of antioxidants but they also have plenty of sugar as well. I often wonder why people presume alcohol free wine has no calories. It still has grapes but the alcohol is removed after fermentation.
So if you have ever seen the old-fashioned way of making wine and a man or woman stomping on the grapes in a barrel. Well what they are after is grape juice and this is the core of any wine making when you think about it.
It’s one of the reasons vineyards all over the world are key to wine making.
Once you have got the grape juice it is time for fermentation which transforms sugar into ethanol or alcohol as it’s more commonly known.
However, there is a point when the fermentation stops and you are left with some of the sugar which goes into the wine and this is reflected in the carbohydrate figure you will see on the wine label.
So it can be high in calories but low in carbs.
Different wines have different sugar levels and then we have wines classed on the tasting labels at the back of the bottle as:
They are often graded by number and to be fair that is mostly well explained. If you are looking at the calories, sugar is just as key as alcohol as one goes hand in hand with the other.
So that is why the sweeter the wine the higher the calories of that drink and of course pinot grigio is on the dryer side which is good news.
At the end of the day you could probably say that each gram of sugar is equal to 4 calories. It’s why very sweet wines are high in calories.
Having said that every pinot grigio will vary depending on its grape, production process, winery and even the year. After all grapes are a natural product.
Dry wines like pinot grigio can have a very small amount of sugar while dessert wines will have a lot.
So how does this help us understand how many calories in a glass of pinot grigio?
Well since the calories in pinot grigo come mainly from ethanol and it is very dry alcohol wine this can give us a really good idea of how many calories are in your wine.
It’s not the whole story but it can give us a good steer if you are looking for options.
As a benchmark you could say that 10 g of alcohol contains 70 Kcal.
As my liver consultant points out however wine glasses have grown in size and when he told me that it was like a big light bulb going on.
If you think about it have two large glasses of pinot grigio and in reality you have nearly downed the bottle!
It’s one of the reasons why getting a large glass of wine and getting the bottle for free in a promotion really does not help our alcohol intake at all.
The more we educate ourselves on our wine the better we will be both in terms of our alcohol intake and calories.
So what is the calorie number for pinot grigio?
Firstly always check the bottle and if you are in a bar they have to have that information available even if you do get odd look.
It’s your legal right and putting that aside you are the customer at the end of the day.
A small (100 ml) measure of pinot grigio can be around 11.5% alcohol by volume so let just presume that as a number.
And yes it could be 12.5 % or less, sometimes more!
This is an estimation but that glass will have a rough calorie count of 65.
Now a quick look on the supermarket shelves will show that if you the “dryness range” and if you go for a medium dry white wine at around 13.5% alcohol by volume this will have around 76 Calories.
Now if you love sweet wines then you up the calories range so around 90 plus calories. Remember it will have more sugar in the mix and a sweet white wine will start high due to the sugar content as well as the alcohol.
So you can see how one glass of white wine can have many factors in the mix.
Now of course and I hate to be quoted by liver consultants again but he’s so knowledgeable and lovely with it that we have become used to drinking a bottle of wine, you get home after bit of stress, open a bottle and before you know it one glass becomes a whole bottle.
As a former social wine drinker I can tell you you don’t even think about it.
And before anyone says anything there are plenty of doctors and experts doing that as well so no pointing the finger please.
A bottle of Pinot Grigio around 11.5% alcohol by volume and you are looking at around 490 Calories based on 750ml.
That’s certainly liquid lunch!
If you go for more heavy wine like Chardonnay or a Resiling you are then increasing the calorie count to around at 590 Calories but that is because many of these wines are around 13.5% alcohol by volume.
As I say it always on the wine label.
Is alcohol free fizz sparkling wine a good alternative?
Well we all like some bubbles and that is an option and sparkling wines do have a similar ABV, so alcohol by volume to a pinot grigio so around 11% to 12.5% alcohol per volume which is mainly down to how they are produced.
So let’s take a standard glass sparkling wine at around 11.5 -12% alcohol by volume You are probably looking at around 70 calories, add another 10 on for a medium dry which can be very common in sparkling wine.
A bottle Cava or Prosecco could have between 470 and 680 Calories depending on how dry it is. The margins are very narrow.
Overall is Pinot a good option?
It seems a glass of pinot grigio is a decent option certainly for calories however its all down to the year, the sweetness and the grape.
Sugar and the alcohol are what makes the calories high or less so.
If you are worried about the calories in a glass of pinot grigio if it might be worth going down the alcohol free route, it does not zero them out but it’s certainly a good healthy option as far as the alcohol is concerned.
So next time you are asked how many calories in a glass of pinot grigio you can say around 65 calories per standard glass. But if you are downing the bottle clearly it will be more!
Always check the label as they say as so many people don’t.
I would love to know your thoughts on how many calories in a glass of pinot grigio? Also, let me know if you have tried any alcohol free options. I always respond to all your comments below.
For more help on alcohol in drink visit drink aware and know your limits.