Wine varies in sweetness from very sweet to bone dry and we all have our favorites. However, if you are looking for wines with very little sugar, this article is for you. We will explain why some wines have only a little sugar and others have a lot and will introduce you to our top picks of wines with little sugar.
Do All Wines Contain Sugar?
One of the ingredients needed to make wine is sugar. Grapes contain sugar and, depending on the winemaker, extra sugar might be added. Yeast is added to the fermentation process, and it converts the sugar to alcohol. If the fermentation process is stopped midway, the wine will then contain a lot of sugar and so a sweeter wine will be produced. The longer the wine is left to ferment, the drier the wine will be. So while some wines will have practically no sugar, others could have twice as much sugar as a sweet soda. However, there is always the tiniest bit of sugar in a bottle of wine as the yeast can miss some.
The Sugar Content In Wine
Let’s start at the beginning and give you a table of the different types of wine and their sugar content. Once you know this, you can decide which wine will suit you best. Perhaps you don’t like much sweetness or maybe you have health issues like diabetes and have to regulate your sugar intake. The list will also help you choose what wine to pair with your meal.
Type of Wine Sugar Content
Bone dry 0 calories (under 1 g/L residual sugar)
Dry 0 -6 calories (1 – 10 g/L residual sugar)
Off-dry 6 – 22 calories (10 – 35 g/L residual sugar)
Sweet 22 -72 calories (35 – 120 g/L residual sugar)
Very sweet 72 – 130 calories (120 – 220 g/L residual sugar)
Which Wines Have the Least Sugar?
There are quite a few dry wines to choose from and we have picked our top 10. They have between 1 and 3 grams of sugar per a standard 5 oz glass. If you try them and don’t feel that they are sweet enough, you can add a little sugar to any of these.
Red Wines White Wines Sparkling Wines
Cabernet Sauvignon Chardonnay Prosecco
Merlot Sauvignon Blanc Brut Champagne
Pinot Noir Viognier
Syrah Pinot Grigio
Generally, red wines have less sugar than white or rose wines. As well as being low in sugar, they are high in antioxidants which have health benefits as long as the wine is drunk in moderation.
Cabernet Sauvignon is highly regarded by wine connoisseurs and is a popular wine the world over. You will often find it in bars and restaurants where it is usually the house wine. It is produced in almost every wine-growing country in the world.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied wine with medium acidity and strong tannins. It has flavors of dark berries and green bell pepper. It pairs well with red meat especially steak and beef casseroles such as boeuf bourguignon. It is also a great accompaniment to a cheese board with blue and aged cheeses such as aged Cheddar and Blue Stilton.
Cabernet Sauvignon contains approximately 1.12 grams of sugar for every 5 oz glass.
Merlot is lighter-bodied than Cabernet Sauvignon, has moderate acidity, and doesn’t have many tannins. It is a fruity wine with flavors of blackberries, plums, and black cherries, with a chocolatey finish.
This wine pairs well with roast poultry, red meat, and stews. It is also a good accompaniment to roast vegetables, especially those with a touch of sweetness such as squash, red peppers, and beets.
The average sugar content of Merlot is 0.91 grams per 5 oz glass.
Pinot Noir is a light-bodied red wine. It is dry and has silky tannins. Depending on where the grapes are grown, it has flavors ranging from dark cherries to earthy mushrooms.
It pairs well with beef bourguignon, filet steak, lamb cutlets, pasta with roasted vegetables, and anything with mushrooms.
Pinot Noir averages around 1 gram of residual sugar per 5 oz pour.
Syrah is a rich full-bodied wine with strong dark flavors of blackberries, plums, and black pepper.
Foods that pair well with Syrah include lamb, ham, and bacon. It is also good with hearty vegetarian dishes prepared with beans and lentils. Serve it with a cheese board with aged Cheddar, smoked Gouda, and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
It is one of the best wines for diabetics as it only has 0.6 grams of residual sugar in a 5 oz glass.
White wines are generally sweeter than red but there are still some that are low in residual sugar. Try some of these.
Chardonnay is a dry, medium to full-bodied wine, with flavors ranging from pineapple and papaya to apple and lemon. When aged in oak, it has hints of vanilla,
Chardonnay pairs with seafood and sushi as well as vegetable dishes.
This wine has 0.9 – 1.4 grams of residual sugar in a 5 oz glass
Sauvignon Blanc is a crisp dry white wine with grassy, herbal, or bell pepper flavors. It pairs well with goat’s cheese, white meats, and spring vegetables.
The residual sugar content in this wine is around 0.75 grams in a 5 oz glass.
Viognier is a full-bodied white wine with rich peach flavors and floral aromas. It pairs well with cheeses such as Brie and Gorgonzola as well as spicy dishes.
It has low residual sugars of 1.5 grams per 5 oz glass.
Pinot Grigio is light to medium-bodied, dry, and acidic. It tastes of citrus, with mineral overtones. It pairs with seafood and cheeses such as Gruyere and Manchego.
Pinot Grigio is low in residual sugars at less than 1 gram in a 5 oz glass.
Sparkling wines generally have low residual sugars and they are extra dry. Of course, there are also sweeter sparkling wines such as Asti Spumante. The good thing about dry sparkling wines is that they have fewer calories than red and white wine. These two sparkling wines are low in residual sugars.
Prosecco originates in Italy, is dry, and has only 80 calories in every glass. What could be better?
It is a lovely drink to serve at a celebration with hors d’oeuvres.
The residual sugar is low at just 1.5 grams per 5 oz pour.
Brut Champagne is another celebratory drink to be served at parties. It is highly acidic and dry.
Brut Champagne contains less than 2 grams of residual sugar in a 5 oz glass.
Is it a Good Idea to Mix Sugar and Wine?
You can mix sugar into wine and it will dissolve as long as you add just a little at a time. Stir it and then add a little more if needed.
However, although it is possible to mix sugar into wine, there is a potential problem. Some wines will still contain a little active yeast so if you put sugar in, the wine will start fermenting. Firstly, this can raise the alcohol level of your wine which can be a problem if you are watching your alcohol intake. Secondly, it can carbonate the wine so you end up with a fizzy wine instead of a still one.
Can You Pair Low Sugar Wines With Desserts?
The good news is that you can pair wines with low sugar with desserts. If you pair a dessert with a very sweet wine, you will get sugar overload.
Low-sugar wines go well with fruit desserts such as apple crumble and strawberry shortcake. Cakes are also a good choice such as carrot cake, vanilla cake, pound cake, lemon drizzle cake, and even brownies. Try a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon with chocolate mousse. Pour a glass of sparkling wine and enjoy it with butter pecan ice cream. Panna cotta is also a good choice with sparkling wine.
Facts About Wine and Sugar Content
- Red wine has the least amount of sugar. On average it contains 0.8 grams of sugar in a 5 oz pour. Red wine is a good choice if you don’t like sweet wine or you are watching your sugar intake. Perhaps you are trying to lose weight, or you have diabetes.
- Dessert wine is high in sugar. A 5 oz serving has as much sugar as a regular coke. Both are high in calories. It is not a good idea to put any extra sugar in a dessert wine as the sugar content will go through the roof.
- The sugar in wine is called residual sugar. When you look at a label and it says it contains sugar, it doesn’t necessarily mean that sugar has been added. Instead, it is the naturally occurring grape sugar.
If you are looking for a wine with low sugar, whether it is because you don’t like sweet wine or you have health issues, head towards the red aisle. In general, they contain less than a gram of residual sugar per 5 oz pour. In addition, they have more health benefits than other wines, which is not to say that white wine isn’t healthy, but red wine is more so. It contains plenty of antioxidants that help with heart health and protect against cancer. Try one of the red wines on our list. You will find that Syrah has one of the lowest amounts of residual sugar among all wines.
If you don’t like red wine, there are dry white wines with low residual sugar. Pick one from our list and you should be okay. The same goes for sparkling wines.
However, if you find the wine too sour, you can add a pinch or two of sugar or drink it with a sweet dessert to cut through the dryness. Alternatively, choose a sweeter wine. There are plenty out there such as Moscato, Tokaji, and Sauternes.