What Is the Alcohol Content of Each Type of Wine?

We've all heard it before: drinking a glass of red wine every night can be a relaxing inclusion in one's healthy lifestyle. Drinking an entire bottle every day, though, isn't widely considered to be beneficial. But how much wine should you drink? It depends on several things, including the wine alcohol content. If you're trying to watch alcohol and calorie intake, knowing the alcohol content in your wine can help you keep things moderate.

Wines are mostly made up of alcohol and carbohydrates (sugars), but a sweeter-tasting wine doesn't necessarily mean it has a higher alcohol content. When you look on the bottle of wine, you'll find a number followed by "ABV," which means alcohol by volume. It's a standard measure of how much alcohol is contained in an alcoholic beverage; it's measured the same way around the world so whether you're drinking a French beaujolais, an Italian Chianti or a Californian sauvignon blanc, you can count on the alcohol levels being measured the same way.

It's important to check the wine alcohol content even if you only drink the same style of wine because winemakers can tweak the alcohol content of wine by increasing the sugar content during the fermentation process. And fortified wines, like Madeira, port and sherry all have higher alcohol content because a distilled spirit like brandy is added during the winemaking process.

Before you say, "Check please," we've got a round up of the commonly enjoyed varietals so you can check for wine alcohol content and calories in your glass of wine.

Types of Red Wine


Cabernet Sauvignon

Considered to be a medium-high alcohol wine, cabernet sauvignon from places like California and Washington have sweeter grapes which translate into a high alcohol content.

ABV: 13.5 to 14.5 percent
Calories per glass: 123


Malbec, from wineries located in warmer climates such as Argentina, tend to be on the stronger side all things considered. Try pouring this wine below the standard 5 oz pour line when serving.

ABV: 13.5 to 15 percent
Calories per glass: 125


Similar to the cabernet in alcohol percentage, merlot is a good choice for a dry red wine.

ABV: 13.5 to 14.5 percent
Calories per glass: 122

Pinot Noir

With a percentage of 11% to 14% the wine alcohol content of a pinot noir (perhaps from a winery in Oregon) varies greatly. This is the average alcohol content of a glass a wine, which a 5 oz pour is encouraged.

ABV: 11 to 14 percent
Calories per glass: 120

Syrah or Shiraz

Coming from Australia, these two bold wines are considered to be higher alcohol wines as far as wine goes. An Australian shiraz would pair beautifully with beef.

ABV: 14 to 15 percent
Calories per glass: 120


This red wine can either be fortified with a distilled neutral spirit or can be naturally high in alcohol. A California zinfandel pairs great with a leg of lamb or even pork ribs. A white zinfandel however has a slightly lower ABV.

ABV: 14 to 15.5 percent
Calories per glass: 129


Dessert wines like sherry tend to have a higher alcohol content and are made to be enjoyed in a smaller glass.

ABV: 15 to 20 percent
Calories per glass: 150

Types of White Wine



A medium-high alcohol white wine, chardonnay grown in warmer climates tend to have a higher ABV.

ABV: 13 to 14.5 percent
Calories per glass: 123

Kabinett Riesling

Sparkling wines like this sweet German riesling tend to have a low alcohol content as well as fewer calories. It's almost like drinking grape juice...almost.

ABV: 8 percent
Calories per glass: 90

Côtes du Rhône

The white wine from France falls under the medium wine alcohol content category. The French red wine of the same name falls under the same percentage.

ABV: 11.5 to 13.5 percent
Calories per glass: 123

Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio

An Italian pinot gris or pinot grigio runs at an average percentage. The cooler climates of Italy make these grapes a bit of the bitter side compared to grapes grown in places like California.

ABV: 12 to 13 percent
Calories per glass: 122


Asti is a sparkling white wine from Italy amde from the Moscato Bianco grape, which is one of the oldest grapes in the Piedmont region. It's sweet but considered a lower-alcohol wine.

ABV: 7 to 9 percent
Calories per glass: 125

Grüner Veltliner

While this white wine grape has been grown mostly in Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, more American vineyards are starting to produce this dry, food-friendly wine.

ABV: 11 to 13 percent
Calories per glass: 100

Did these wine alcohol content numbers meet your expectation? While alcohol varies between types of between, if you're drinking a whole bottle, it won't matter anyway. You'll still be drunk as a skunk on Sunday.

This article was originally published on June 7, 2018.