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The Sweet Truth About Sugar-Free Wine

Is there such a thing as sugar-free wine?

Technically, there is no such thing as sugar-free wine. Grapes naturally contain sugar, which is used to make wine.  So, the short answer is no, but the longer answer is - it depends on who is asking. 

Wine is the lovechild of sugar and yeast. Through a process called fermentation, yeast consumes sugar naturally found in grapes and produces wine as a byproduct. During this process, not all sugar is consumed. The leftover sugar is known as residual sugar, and it plays a crucial role in determining the sugar content in wine. 

Wine can be labeled as sugar-free, zero-sugar, or no-sugar if it contains less than 0.5 grams of residual sugar per serving. To put this into perspective, 0.5 grams of sugar equals approximately 2 calories per serving. Armed with this knowledge, you can confidently make informed choices about the wines you enjoy.


Do wines have added sugar?

Wineries that add sugar to sweeten wine aren’t using sugar—they’re using grape concentrate. Many commercial wines will add grape concentrate to cover up harsh and bitter flavors of cheaply made wine, ahemmmm… think Y3llowT@il.

While most wines don’t disclose how much sugar is in their product, you can sometimes find it on a wine’s tech sheet. Here is a snapshot of some popular brands. If there is one you like that isn’t showing up, email me at mai@maivino.com, and we’ll see what we can do.

 

Wine Grams of Sugar Per Serving (5 Ounces)
Josh's Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 0.580
Yellow Tail Chardonnay 1.030
La Marca Prosecco 2.510
Mai Vino Sauv Blanc 0.200
Mai Vino Rosé 0.004 | Zero Sugar*
Mai Vino Amber 0.260  | Zero Sugar*
Mai Vino Pinot Noir  0.230 | Zero Sugar*

 

*Wine can be labeled as sugar-free, zero-sugar, or no-sugar if it contains less than 0.5 grams of residual sugar per serving. 

How do I find sugar-free/zero-sugar wine

Avoid the wines we listed above, or use this as a quick guide when you are shopping for wines.

 

Select light-bodied wine varietals

The sugar content can vary significantly depending on the wine varietal. The best way to determine how much sugar is in wine is to look at a wine’s tech sheet. Those sheets will sometimes tell you how much sugar is in the wine.  Otherwise, look for light-bodied white wines like Muscadet, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, or light-bodied red wines like Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, and Sangiovese. These wines are less likely to be high in sugar. You can also check out Mai Vino’s zero-sugar wines - Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, Pinot Noir. 

Spend a little more at speciality grocery stores and curated wine shops

Seek out wines with higher price points as they often reflect the time and care put into their creation. For example, at Mai Vino, we prioritize organic farming and natural yeast fermentation, which takes longer but yields exceptional quality. Unlike conventional farming, organic farming involves composting and increasing biodiversity within the vineyard, resulting in a more sustainable approach to winemaking. This dedication to quality and sustainability sets our wines apart.

We suggest buying wines that are $15+ a bottle from specialty grocery stores or curated wine shops. At this price point, producers are invested in making great wines, not making bad wines taste good by hiding the flaws with grape concentrate.

Shop from those you trust

Another way to find sugar-free wine near you is to visit retailers or bottle shops with curated wine selections. Curated shops handpick their wine selections and have tasted most of the wines sold in-store. These shops can point you in the right direction if you ask for dry, light-bodied wines. 

If you need help finding a curated shop near you, here is a list of curated shops that carry Mai Vino’s sugar-free wines and other fantastic natural/organic wines.