Wine is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the world and a staple drink in some cultures.
It’s common to enjoy a glass of wine as you catch up with friends or unwind after a long day, but you may wonder whether drinking too much wine can cause you to gain weight.
This article reviews the calories in wine, how it compares with other alcoholic drinks, and whether drinking too much of it can lead to weight gain.
Calories in wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grape juice. Most of the calories in wine come from alcohol and various amounts of carbs.
While wine isn’t considered to be particularly high in calories, it’s easy to consume it in excess. Thus, the calories from wine can add up.
Of course, the calories in wine vary and the exact number depends on the type. Dry wines tend to have less sugar and therefore fewer calories than sweet wines, while sparkling wines are the lowest in calories.
While the calories in one glass of wine don’t seem like a lot, a few glasses pack over 300 calories and a bottle has upwards of 600 calories. Depending on how much you drink, wine can contribute a significant number of extra calories to your daily intake (
In comparison, one 12-ounce (355-mL) serving of light beer has around 100 calories, while the same amount of regular beer has closer to 150 calories — and even more if it’s a heavy beer. Meanwhile, a 1.5-ounce (44-mL) shot of vodka has 97 calories (
When compared side by side, wine has slightly more calories than light beer and most liquors, but less than regular and heavy beers. Mixers like juices and sodas can significantly increase the calorie and carb contents of distilled spirits, such as vodka, gin, and whiskey.
Depending on the type of wine, a single glass provides around 115–130 calories. However, drinking multiple glasses can add up.
Alcohol and weight gain
Drinking too much wine can cause you to consume more calories than you burn, which can lead to weight gain.
What’s more, calories from alcohol are typically considered empty calories, since most alcoholic drinks do not provide substantial amounts of vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients.
Still, you may have heard that red wine, in particular, may offer more benefits than other alcohols. Red wine contains resveratrol, an antioxidant compound that may fight disease and has been linked to heart benefits when consumed in moderation (
However, drinking too much wine appears to outweigh any possible benefits and contributes excess calories in the process (
Additionally, heavy drinking can lead to weight gain in ways other than just contributing empty calories. When you consume alcohol, your body uses it before carbs or fat for energy. As a result, these nutrients may be stored as fat (
High alcohol consumption is also associated with poor diet quality. However, it’s unclear whether this is a result of unhealthy food choices made while intoxicated, or if those who drink more often have less healthy diets in general (
Drinking too much wine can lead to the overconsumption of calories and possible weight gain. In addition, excess alcohol intake may hinder how your body burns energy and fat.
Consuming too much wine or alcohol can have downsides beyond those related to possible weight gain.
In general, moderate alcohol intake has not been associated with health risks.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines moderate drinking as up to one drink for women and up to two drinks for men per day.
A drink is defined as 14 grams of alcohol, which equates to 12 ounces (355 mL) of beer, 5 ounces (148 mL) of wine, or 1.5 ounces (44 mL) of hard liquor (15).
On the other hand, heavy alcohol use is defined as drinking four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men on a single occasion on 5 or more days in a month (15).
Since the liver plays a large role in processing alcohol, heavy alcohol intake can lead to the accumulation of fat inside your liver and may eventually cause chronic liver scarring and damage known as cirrhosis (
While moderate alcohol intake is not considered harmful, heavy drinking may increase your risk of developing liver issues and certain diseases.
The bottom line
A 5-ounce (148-mL) glass of wine provides around 120 calories. Sweet wines tend to have more calories, while sparkling wines tend to have fewer.
Furthermore, wine provides slightly more calories than most hard liquors and light beers but usually fewer calories than heavy beers.
While drinking one or two glasses of wine on occasion likely won’t lead to weight gain, regularly consuming excessive amounts of wine can contribute to this outcome and other negative health effects.