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October 22, 2021 | wine | Pacific Rim

How Much Sugar is in Riesling Wine?

How Much Sugar is in Riesling Wine?

These days many people are concerned about weight gain, even wine drinkers. Hence, they all want to know the sugar content of the wine they drink. What is the Riesling sugar content? 

measuring the sugar content in wine

First, it is important to know that there are some wines with no sugar content, and at the other extreme end of the spectrum, there are wines with a lot of sugar, perhaps twice the concentration found in cola beverages. 

Second, you cannot tell the sugar content of the wine by tasting it.  The human tongue has a very low ability to detect the presence of sugar, and thus tasting is not the best way to judge the sugar content of wine. In addition, there are subjective differences in human taste; what may be very sweet to one person may be bland to another person.

Where Does the Sugar in Wine Come From?

During the fermentation process, the natural sugars from the grapes are released, the majority of which are used by yeast to make alcohol. However, some sugar is usually leftover, and this is known as residual sugar.  It is this remaining sugar that causes the sweetness of the wine. If the fermentation process is prolonged, all the sugars can be used up, and there is no residual sugar. 

These wines tend to have higher alcohol content and have a distinct bitter taste. On the other hand, if the fermentation process is short and very ripe grapes are used to make wine, there may be a lot of residual sugar leftover, which can make the wine very sweet.

Sugar and Riesling Wines

How much sugar is in Riesling wine?  Sugar in wine is classified on a scale from bone dry to very sweet.  The amount of sugar in Riesling wine depends on the type of wine you buy. The best way to tell is by reading the label to check for alcohol by volume (ABV) and residual sugar (RS) concentration. 

Unfortunately, many producers of wine do not state the RS level on the label as it is not mandated by law. But you can still tell if the wine is sweet by the ABV percentage. If the label says 8-9% ABV, this Riesling wine has low levels of alcohol and most likely is sweet. If the label says 10-11% ABV, this is a medium-dry wine, probably semi-dry and half sweet, and if the label states ABV greater than 12%, this wine has higher levels of alcohol and is not sweet.

How Many Calories Will You Acquire From Riesling Wine?

In general, if the Riesling wine is bone dry, a glass of wine will have less than 2 calories. For medium-dry Riesling wines, a glass of wine will contain about 20-30 calories, and the sweet Riesling will contain anywhere from 30-130 calories per glass.

What If the Label Does Not State the ABV or RS Content?

How much sugar is in Riesling wine? If the label does not state the ABV or RS content, how do you know if the Riesling wine is sweet?

Look for a Riesling that is less than $15. In general, less expensive Riesling wines are assumed to have some residual sugar between 3-15g. Some less expensive and sweeter Riesling wines in the U.S. include:

  1. Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Riesling 2015
  2. Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2015 (Washington State)
  3. Hugel Riesling 2014 
  4. Eroica Riesling 2013 (Washington)
  5. Stiletto light Riesling
  6. Gray monk Riesling
  7. 2019 Sweet Riesling

If you want to avoid too much sugar in your Riesling wine, go with a bottle of slightly more expensive wine, such as:

  1. Old Vines Niagara
  2. Riesling estates
  3. Nadja’s vineyard
  4. Riesling heritage
  5. 2018 Wallula Vineyard Riesling

If you want to avoid sugar at all costs in your wine, select a Riesling with an ABV of more than 12% like:

  1. Riesling dry
  2. Riesling raw
  3. Riesling speck
  4. Riesling heritage
  5. 2018 Dry Riesling

If you are trying to avoid a lot of sugar, try dry wines.  If they don’t agree with your palette, try the medium dry/medium-sweet wines.  If you like sweet wines, enjoy them – just watch the rest of your sugar content for the day. 

What is the Riesling sugar content?  If you have any questions about the dry, medium, or sweet Riesling options, call Pacific Rim and Company at 1.503.863.5454.  They are passionate about wine, especially Riesling wines, and they are very knowledgeable about them.


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