How Much Alcohol is in a Glass of Wine?

The amount of alcohol that is poured into a glass of wine is dependent on alcohol content of wine or on its alcohol level percentage by volume which is known as ABV or alcohol by volume.

The alcohol content is determined by the amount of sugar that had developed in the grapes during the harvesting period. The more sugar found in the grape, the higher the alcohol content in wine or beer tends to be.

Key takeaways

  • The alcohol content in wine ranges from 6 % to 13 % for white wine and sparkling wine
  • Red wine has a higher alcohol content ranging from 10 % to 15 %
  • Fortified wine like sherry or port wine has a higher alcohol content of 15 % to 20 %. Pure alcohol is added to stop the fermentation process.
  • The alcohol content of wine depends on the fermentation process
  • Alcohol free wine is made by removal of the alcohol content of wine or by using a different fermentation process

What determines the alcohol content in alcoholic beverages

Despite this correlation higher sugar levels, don’t necessarily mean that sweeter wines have a higher alcohol content although this is sometimes the case. The true alcohol content is formed during the fermentation process when the yeast has consumed the sugar and converted it into alcohol. Therefore it depends on the climate, grape variety and grape ripeness. Riper grapes have a higher sugar content than their unripe grapes.

Other factors may influence the alcohol levels such as the environment where the grapes are grown, the climate and the style of fermentation process. So although grapes with more sugar tend to produce higher alcohol wine, this can be affected by the wine making process. Warmer climates tend to yield grape varieties with a high sugar content and therefore wines with potentially higher alcohol levels.

Alcohol levels in Wine

The typical alcohol level in a glass of wine depends on the type of wine but on average tends to be between 11% to 13% alcohol. However, your favorite wine bottles show a typical range of as little as 5.5% alcohol content for white wine and fortified wine rate all the way up to 20%.

This is due to the alcohol content by volume so a glass of wine is likely to have more alcohol due to the smaller volume of the vessel.

When tasting, the alcohol will present itself as a burning sensation in the back of the mouth and throat. The higher the alcohol percentage, the warmer and richer the taste will be in the mouth. The alcohol present in wine carries and amplifies the flavor. It works in a similar way as salt for food.

Increasing Alcohol Content of wine

Throughout the years, the alcohol content in wine has grown exponentially. This is due to increased pressure on winemakers to create more intense flavors which means that riper grapes are selected which are much sharper in flavor and higher in sugar content.

When grapes are left on the vine, the alcohol content in wine also tends to have a more rich and matured flavor which is ideal for aged wines and vintages. A lot of wine companies that create these intense flavors normally use scientific intervention to manipulate the growing period for the grapes and speed up the selection process.

A warmer climate can also encourage this so lots of winemakers keep their grapes in controlled environments where they can have a maintained temperature. A good example is Pinot noir which yields fruity, acidic and low wine alcohol content red wine in colder climates. Moving to warmer climates the acidity is reduced and the wine alcohol content inceased.

What is alcohol free wine

Alcohol free wine, also known as non-alcoholic wine, is a beverage that is made using the same winemaking techniques as traditional wine but with the removal of alcohol before bottling. This process allows for the retention of the flavors and aromas of the grapes without the intoxicating effects of alcohol. Many people turn to alcohol free wine for health reasons or personal preferences, as it provides a similar taste experience to regular wine without the negative side effects.

One interesting aspect of alcohol free wine is its growing popularity among young adults who are looking for alternatives to traditional alcoholic beverages. With advancements in winemaking technology, producers are able to create high-quality alcohol free wines that cater to this demographic. Additionally, these wines offer a great option for those who want to enjoy a glass without worrying about driving or consuming too much alcohol.

Most alcohol free wines are white wine, sparkling wine but only a limited number of good alcohol free red wine makers are known.

Which wine has more alcohol

Now you know how the alcohol content is determined and how it can be manipulated during the wine making process, it’s time to discuss what kinds of wine fall under the different categories of very low, moderately low, high and very high. With different types of wine slotting into each category, you’re sure to find a glass of wine that suits you. 

  • Very low – Alcohol levels under 12.5% 

Sparkling wines include: Italian Asti and Italian Prosecco.

White wines include: French Vouvray, Portuguese Vinho Verde and Spanish Txacolina.

Rosé wines include: California White Zinfandel and Portuguese rosés.

  • Moderately low – Alcohol levels 12.5% to 13.5% 

Sparkling wines include: California sparkling wine, French Champagne sparkling wine and Spanish Cava.

White wines include: Austrian Grüner Veltliner, French Loire and Spanish Albarino.

Rosé wines include: French rosés and Spanish rosés.

Red wines include: French Beaujolais and Burgundy, French Bordeaux and Italian Chianti.

  • High – Alcohol levels of 13.5% to 14.5% 

White wines include: Australian Chardonnay, Chilean Chardonnay and South African Chenin Blanc.

Red wines include: California Cabernet Sauvignon, California Syrah and French Rhône Red.

  • Very high – more than 14.5%

White wines include: French Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise (fortified), Portuguese Madeira (fortified) and Spanish sherry (fortified).

Red wines include: California Petite Sirah, Italian Amarone and Portuguese Port (fortified).

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to have a glass of wine every night?

As with any food or drink, wine is okay when consumed in moderation and even when drunk comes with some health benefits as well as providing relaxation. The consensus usually dictates that women should not exceed one glass of wine a day whereas men should consume no more than two glasses of wine per day.

What equals a glass of wine?

If you are unsure how much a glass of wine compares to other alcoholic beverages in terms of the ABV, 5 ounces of wine is usually around 12% alcohol content which equates to 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits which is around 40% alcohol content. 

How many drinks is a 1.5 liter bottle of wine?

A standard wine bottle is 750ml which will fill around five glasses, a 1.5 liter wine bottle which is known as a magnum bottle provides around 10 glasses and a 3 liter wine bottle or box can fill 20 glasses. 

Hi, my name is Christina Day, and I am a self-proclaimed wine connoisseur. It is my favorite alcoholic drink, and I enjoy nothing better than kicking back on the sofa after a long week of work to enjoy a glass of wine… or two!