Can wine make you fat?

I hear it so often that “wine is food” and we all like to have a good laugh about it but it actually really is…food! After reading a few articles on the matter from Wine FollyVivino and Social Vignerons I calculated that half a bottle of full bodied red wine (easy for even a weekday)  is around 294 calories – that is equivalent to a 30 minute cycle! Gulp! Plus- what is even MORE horrifying is that if you eat after drinking wine, pretty much your entire stomach contents turn to fat. Eeeek!

So, my fellow wine lovers, how the heck can we keep our marvelous looking bodies in shape when we love to drink so much wine? The answer is rather simple really, everything in moderation but there is some science around it too which you might find quite interesting.

Below,  is some information that will help you make the right decisions when thinking about the calories in wine.

The make up of wine

Wine is made up of mostly Water, then it also has some fabulous ingredients called Alcohol, Residual Sugar and Acid. So wine is not only food, but also a beverage because it is 85% water. That’s healthy right?

Calories in wine

Now…if we are looking into calories here, the calories mostly come from our fabulous little ingredients called 1. Alcohol and 2. Sugar.If you read the back label of a bottle of wine, it will tell you exactly how much alcohol and residual sugar % there is in the wine. Here is a pretty useful tool to use…


ALCOHOL: Serve Volume (in litres) x Alcohol Content (%) x 56 = Calories

SUGAR: Serve Volume (in liters) x Residual Sugar Concentration (Grams per litre) x 4 = Calories


Now, because I know you are all wine lovers here, let’s do an example on a half bottle of wine…

ALCOHOL: 0,375 (litres) x 14 (% alcohol) x 56 = 294 calories


SUGAR: 0.375 (Litres) x 2.4 (grams per litre) x 4 = 3.6 calories

= a total of 397.6 calories 

So! There are FAR more calories in alcohol than there is in sugar. Don’t you just hate it when people tell you… “oh there’s a lot of sugar in wine” – it’s not the sugar, dummy, it’s the alcohol. The higher the percentage of alcohol, the higher the calories.  Take Vodka for instance, a double shot of Vodka is 231 calories, then people mix that with coke (add 140 calories), then if you drink two glasses = 742 calories! Yeah, I will stick to my wine thanks 🙂

I am not sure if I take this as a joke anymore, but rather a very useful tip! 

What about carbs?

Despite the fact that wine has calories, it has little to no carbs and zero fat. In fact, beer has more calories than dry wine!


It all depends on the type of wine you drink

So I took 6 different types of wines and did the same calculation. it turns out that red wines are among the most calorie rich wines out there. I worked it out according to a glass of 250ml wine…

  • Jan Harmsgat Pinotage = 207 calories
  • Durbanville Hills Sparkling wine = 199 calories
  • Hartenberg Chardonnay = 184 calories
  • Cavalli The Pink Pony Rosé = 182 calories
  • Lanzerac Blanc de Blancs MCC = 180 calories
  • Four Cousins Skinny white = 128 calories

But all in all, not too much of a difference really except for the Four Cousins Skinny wine which was really quite low in calories.


Eating while you drink

Now here is the ultimate trap. Ever wondered why you start getting the “munchies” after drinking wine? Drinking alcohol actually makes your blood sugar levels drop so you feel hungry. But when you do eat, it just sits there turning to fat because your body is busy processing the alcohol first. Plus, after eating, you are STILL hungry and end up eating way much more than you should.

Your body should only process a limited amount of alcohol per day, so always drink in moderation. Rather eat some protein before drinking wine – like nuts or chicken strips. Then try not to eat after consuming alcohol. Others also say, drink lots of water in between your sips of wine. It will not only help you to digest and fill you up but it will also make the wine last longer.


So there you have it!

Wine can make you fat, but only if you let yourself go out of control. Stick to the below tips:

  • Drink only one to two glasses of wine at a time
  • Try to avoid eating any carb rich, sugary or greasy foods at the same time as drinking wine, stick to protein and rather eat this before drinking.
  • Drink plenty of water in between your sips of wine. This will also make the wine last longer.
  • Exercise! I say 30 minutes of exercise for every two glasses of wine.


You will be sure to keep your fabulous body for years to come – even if you do sneak in a glass or two of wine every night.

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