Food & Recipes

Here’s How Much Alcohol Your Wine Contains

Wines are getting boozier and boozier.

Depending on your drinking preferences, you may view this as good news or bad news, but wine drinkers take note: The alcohol content in wine is on the rise.

Marine Old, the coauthor of “He Said Beer, She Said Wine,” told Real Simple that winemakers are being pressured by critics to produce rich wines with intense flavors.

In order to achieve this, winemakers need riper grapes, so they’ve been leaving the vine attached to their grapes longer, which in turn creates a fuller-bodied wine with a higher alcohol content.

So how much alcohol is in your favorite bottle of wine? Here is a handy breakdown to give you a general idea of the alcohol content in many of the more populars types of sparkling, red, white and rosé wines.

Wines With A Low Alcohol Content

These wines have an alcohol content of 12.5 percent or less.

Sparkling:

  • Italian Prosecco
  • Italian Asti

White:

  • French Vouvray and Muscadet
  • German Riesling
  • Portuguese Vinho Verde

Rosé:

  • California White Zinfandel
  • Portuguese rosé

Wines With A Moderately Low Alcohol Content

These wines have an alcohol content ranging from 12.5 percent to 13.5 percent.

Sparkling:

  • California sparkling wines
  • French Champagne
  • Spanish Cava

White:

  • Austrian Grüner Veltliner
  • Australian Riesling
  • French Alsace white
  • French Loire and Bordeaux whites
  • French white Burgundy
  • Italian Pinot Grigio
  • New York Riesling
  • New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
  • Oregon Pinot Gris
  • South African Sauvignon Blanc
  • Spanish Albarino
  • Spanish Verdejo

Rosé:

  • French rosé
  • Spanish rosé

Red:

  • French Beaujolais and Burgundy
  • French Bordeaux
  • Italian Chianti and Sangiovese
  • Spanish Rioja

Wines With A Higher Alcohol Content

These wines contain anywhere from 13.5 percent to 14.5 percent alcohol.

White:

  • Australian Chardonnay
  • California Chardonnay
  • California Pinot Gris
  • California Sauvignon Blanc
  • California Viognier
  • Chilean Chardonnay
  • French Sauternes
  • South African Chenin Blanc

Red:

  • Argentine Malbec
  • Australian Shiraz
  • California Cabernet Sauvignon
  • California Pinot Noir
  • California Syrah
  • Chilean Merlot
  • French Rhône red
  • Italian Barolo
  • Italian Primitivo
  • Italian Negroamaro
  • Italian Nero D’Avola

Wines With The Highest Alcohol Content

These wines have an alcohol content that is 14.5 percent or greater, meaning you’re probably going to feel it much faster than if you were to have a glass of any of the wine listed with a lower alcohol content.

White (Note: Most of the white wines that top this list are fortified, meaning spirits are added to them):

  • French Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise (fortified)
  • Portuguese Madeira (fortified)
  • Spanish sherry (fortified)
  • Some California Chardonnay

Red:

  • California Petite Sirah
  • California Zinfandel
  • Italian Amarone
  • Portuguese port (fortified)

Note that there are always exceptions to the alcohol contents listed above, so if you want to be certain you know how much alcohol you’re drinking, make sure to look for the alcohol-by-volume (ABV) percentage on your wine’s label.

We were not paid to write this story. The products and services mentioned below were selected independent of sales and advertising. However, Simplemost may receive a small commission from the purchase of any products or services through an affiliate link to the retailer's website.

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