Sugar in wines - Printable Version

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- johnanderson - 01-21-2003 02:08 AM

I have a few questions about sugar in wine. Someone I am dating needs to limit her sugar intake to about 3% sugar (specifically sucrose) per meal. How much sugar is in various wines?

I have seen some places advertise 0.1% residual sugar in a cabernet. Are all cabernets that low in sugar?

- Innkeeper - 01-21-2003 08:36 AM

Hi John, and welcome to the Wine Board. Almost all red wine is dry. See recent post on this thread regarding total calories in wine. White wine can have residual sugar. Those that are usually dry are chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and pinot grigio/gris. For wines made from riesling, chenin blanc, and gewurztraminer look for the word "dry" on the label. Otherwise they will be off dry.

- Thomas - 01-21-2003 11:21 AM

The technical answer is that it is virtually impossible to convert all the sugar in grape juice to alcohol. Red or white, dry wines contain sugar, impercetible as it is from .01 percent to .50 percent by volume; beyond that, the tongue has a better shot at registering sugar. But not all dry wines are alike either. Specifically, sparkling wine and wines like Riesling contain high acidity so higher residual sugar levels--say 1.0 percent--still seem relatively dry, and so the wines are considered dry even with those sugar levels. (With Champagne, the designation of dry is an absolute obfuscation, the wine being quite sweet. Brut, among the driest Champagne, can be as high as 1.0 percent in sugar.)

Dessert wines can go quite high in sugar content, often beyond 3 percent.

To approximately convert the percent by volume into grams add a decimal.

[This message has been edited by foodie (edited 01-21-2003).]

- Kcwhippet - 01-21-2003 01:23 PM

If sucrose is specifically the problem, then there shouldn't be any problem with wine. There's really no sucrose in wine (even those with residual sugar) because the yeast hydrolizes the disaccharide sucrose molecules into monosaccharide glucose and fructose molecules, which then are converted to alcohol.

- Thomas - 01-21-2003 02:16 PM

KC is right--I missed the reference to sucrose, even though it was in ( ).

Also, in Brut Champagne, the sugar can be as high as 2 percent--I've tested many of them, and they are.

- Innkeeper - 01-21-2003 02:46 PM

You are quite right Foodie. My intellectual reference point is Freixenet Cordon Negro (the only thing I could afford when it was imprinted). That brand's Brut is booooooooone dry, and their Extra Dry is slightly off dry. Other brands of other sparklers including Champagne, I have found, can be all over the map on these designations.

[This message has been edited by Innkeeper (edited 01-22-2003).]