The lowest calorie alcohol?

We all want to enjoy ourselves but as is often the case the things we enjoy most are not always the best for us! Sparkling wine has recently attracted attention with some brands pushing it as a low calorie alcoholic drink and hinting at the idea that their product is a healthy alcoholic drink.

This is understandable given many people are looking for something that tastes good but is maybe not quite so bad for you, with low calorie foods being widespread in all areas of the supermarket.

There have been a number of ‘Skinny’ low calorie proseccos and low sugar proseccos being launched in the last couple of years making claims about being low calorie.

The thing to remember for all of this is that alcohol is made from the reaction of sugar and yeast. So all of these healthy alcoholic drinks have had some sugar in them from somewhere, most often from the grapes themselves in the original fermentation.

Half full glass of low calorie sparkling wine from Renegade and Longton
Tablespoon of sugar
Graph demonstrating the sugar content in different types of sparkling wine

Each unit of alcohol has calories in it, with one gram of pure alcohol having 7 calories in it, one unit of alcohol is 8 grams. Meaning a typical unit of alcohol will have 56 calories in it and so that low calorie sparkling wine that has 9 units of alcohol per bottle actually has 504 calories relating to just the alcohol in it. So a low calorie prosecco may just have a lower alcohol content than a more traditional sparkling wine.

Sugar in wines and prosecco

The sugar content that wine makers refer to on their bottles label, sometimes cryptically, is the sugar that is left in a bottle once the fermentation has been completed. This is adjusted to taste at the winemaker’s discretion, so for example the low calorie drinks will be keeping this additional sugar low.

When wines are described as dry it means they are lower in sugar, anything described as Brut has less than 12g of sugar in the final bottle. Whereas an Extra dry wine is from 12 to 17g, dry is 17 to 32g and demi-sec is 32 to 50g per bottle. So the new brands launching the ‘Skinny’ low calorie proseccos are just using different terms to describe wines that already exist.

Fruit wines and sugar

With this in mind at Renegade and Longton, our sparkling wines only have 6g of sugar in the final bottle making them Brut (meaning you will only be having 1g of sugar per glass, depending on your glass size of course!). So for the really diligent calorie counters that means there are 90 calories per 125ml glass of our sparkling wine, which compares favourably to a low calorie prosecco.

We want to make the wines in this way as normally when new flavours are introduced to alcohol, be it as a gin, cider or wine a lot of sugar is added as this is the easiest way to convert new customers.

We believe the British public are more discerning and would like the opportunity to try new flavours without all the sugar! Therefore, our wines could be considered low calorie alcoholic drinks options by the standard of both other sparkling wines and also compared to other fruit flavour options.

Making your wine healthier….

As a silver lining there are perhaps a couple of ways that you might burn additional calories whilst you are enjoying your ‘healthy alcoholic drinks’. For example, the average person can burn up to 200 calories per hour standing, so if you are at an event offering Renegade and Longton by the glass you could have a glass every thirty minutes without having to worry too much about the excess calories. Or if you have had a couple of glasses of sparkling wine and ended up at a bar or club then dancing for an hour can burn more than 300 calories!

The claims made by sparkling wines to be low calorie and low in sugar should be taken with a pinch of salt or should we say sugar. As of course ultimately these brands are all trying to sell alcohol.

But in general when comparing sparkling wines to other drinks such as cider or gin liqueurs they are considerably lower in sugar. Meaning you can indulge and feel slightly less guilty. After all life is all about the occasional excess!

Bottle of Renegade and Longton pure elderflower sparkling wine poured into a traditional champagne coupe glass
Empty glasses of the lowest calorie alcoholic drink for an evening of drinking




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