Are you thinking about low-sugar wines? Us too

By Stocked Cellars on Aug 3, 2022

We know how much you care about what you’re putting into your body and attempting to be as healthy as possible for the wines you drink — we totally relate!

On April 7th, 2020, I was diagnosed with cancer.

A headline I thought I would never have to write is beyond me.

It’s interesting where your mind can go when you’re in waiting. In the waiting…I thought about writing goodbye letters, making videos for my kids, exploring by myself to clear my mind, resting with Jesus, and trying not to have meltdowns when I felt weary. I even forgave all the people I didn’t even mesh with and the ones that did by me wrong.

With that being said, I like to process things quietly, so I understand how I feel, and I never want to empower or give life to the things that hurt me and it’s essential to consider low-sugar wine and how it can impact your health.

I share this good news: My diagnosis; is not anymore a concept, and you don’t have to take the wine off the table.

Here are some suggestions for finding your favourite wines while remaining within your daily sugar allowance.

Here is an excellent chart from Wine Folly comparing Residual Sugar levels.
(Thanks to winefolly.com for this fantastic infographic!)

Residual Sugar: What Is It?

Yeast consumes sugar and produces alcohol—the greater the sugar content of the grape during harvest, the greater the alcohol potential. Residual sugar (RS) is the quantity of sugar that remains after fermentation has finished or been halted.

Some winemakers stop fermentation early and leave a trace of RS in the wine. This is common in Canadian white wines such as Riesling. Others allow fermentation to finish and stop when all the sugar has been transformed.

It’s important to remember that fruity wines are sometimes mistaken for off-dry or sweet wines. The presence of fruit in a wine is not always a sign of RS.

How to Identify a High-Sugar Wine

Low alcohol– Because fermentation was stopped early, wines with low alcohol concentration sometimes have greater sugar levels. Anything with an alcohol content of 11% or less has high sugar content. Examine the wine label’s ABV section…

Off-dry, sweet- Any wine label that includes the phrases off-dry or sweet indicates that the wine contains more sugar. Whether the label does not specify the sweetness level, read the wine description to see if it does.

Wine under $10- Your favourite Wine Wednesday bottle may be heavy in sugar. Even if you can’t taste it, there is always a lot of sugar left behind. Often, sugar is ADDED to lower-priced wines. Low-quality grapes with insufficient sugar levels at harvest may necessitate some winemakers to add heaps of sugar to the grape juice before fermentation. Even increasing the price of the wine to the $15-20 range would significantly impact quality and sugar levels.

Because of the tannins and acidity in wine, it is frequently challenging to identify a wine with significant residual sugar. If a wine feels somewhat sweet, be alert; it most likely contains more sugar than you realize.

Discover your favourite wines

Most red wines are dry, which is fantastic! It’s unusual to come across a bottle of red wine with much residual sugar. However, keep in mind that low-cost wines have higher sugar. So, as long as your purchases are over $15, you should be able to select whatever red wine you like. Here’s one of my favourites!

While most white wines are dry, there are several varietals and styles to be cautious of, including Riesling and Gewurztraminer. While German and French producers lean toward making these varietals dry, it might not be easy to know from the label. Riesling and Gewurztraminers manufactured in Canada shall be labelled whether they are dry, off-dry, or sweet. The majority of other white wine varietals should be OK as well. Check the label if you’re not sure – my favourite white without the guilt.

Our favourite pink beverage is the rose. Like many beverages on the Canadian market, they pander to our sweet tooth. While most roses are dry and sour, you may come upon an off-dry or sweet rose now and again.

Brut or Brut Nature (the driest) or Extra Brut are the best Sparkling options.

As you may have guessed, most dessert wines include some sugar. If you’re managing your sugar consumption, avoiding icewines and late harvest is usually better unless you know they’re low in sugar.

How can we continue to enjoy our favourite sweet wines?

We Compromise! If sugary treats tempt you, replace them with a sweet Sparkling or Riesling glass. It’s a delightful post-meal drink with less sugar than any dessert on the menu.

Here’s the good news: we have done the hard work for you, so enjoy that blissed-out feeling a glass of wine can bring after a looong day. 

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