If you love the bubbly taste of champagne — but not its price tag — consider prosecco, a more affordable option. Prosecco calories are lower than those in champagne, but you'll still get the same fizzy, light, fruity taste.
What Is Prosecco?
Since Roman times, vineyards have canvassed the sunny slopes of the Italian towns of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano. The name of the prosecco grapes that produce the legendary wine was changed to glera grapes by the Italian government in 2009 to designate their region of origin, according to the International Wine and Food Society. This was done to prevent the exploitation and fraudulent use of traditional prosecco wine.
To identify authentic prosecco wine, look for the DOC (controlled designation of origin) or DOCG (denomination of controlled and guaranteed origin) designation on the bottle. This guarantees its Italian origin and quality standards.
Prosecco wine is available in still (non-sparkling) and sparkling forms. According to Consorzio Tutela, an Italian organization dedicated to protecting authentic prosecco, there are three types of prosecco wines categorized by the amount of bubbles they contain: spumante, frizzante and tranquillo.
Spumante is the most common as well as the most sparkling variety. It's available as Brut (containing the least amount of sugar with less than 12 grams per liter), extra dry, dry and demi-sec (containing the highest amount of sugar, with 32–50 grams per liter). It has around 12 percent alcohol content.
Frizzante is a lighter type of prosecco and isn't as bubbly as spumante. It also has a slightly lower alcohol content, around 5 percent. Tranquillo prosecco is a still wine with no bubbles and has the same alcohol content as frizzante.
Calories in Prosecco Wine
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend women of legal drinking age to not exceed one alcoholic drink per day. Men should stick to two drinks per day. If you're trying to lose weight, you will need to account for alcohol calories in your daily calorie intake.
According to the Dietary Guidelines, adult women need about 1,800 to 2,400 calories per day, while men should aim for 2,400 to 3,000 per day. However, these values may be higher or lower, depending on your health and weight loss goals. If you are trying to get leaner but you don't want to quit drinking, your calorie intake must be much lower than your energy expenditure.
The number of calories in a glass of prosecco depends on the sugar in prosecco, the alcohol content and the serving size. In the United States, a standard wine glass of 5 ounces contains roughly 14 grams of pure alcohol, which is based on an average 12 percent alcohol content, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Dryer prosecco has a lower sugar content, and thus has fewer calories from sugar than sweeter prosecco. Wine Folly reports that most sparkling wines with a sugar content of less than 12 grams per liter, such as Brut prosecco, contain about 91 to 98 calories per 5-ounce glass, based on a 12 percent alcohol content. For comparison, the USDA lists red wine as providing 125 calories per 5 ounces, and sweet dessert wine as containing 236 calories for the same amount.
Understanding Prosecco Nutrition
The majority of calories in bubbly wine come from prosecco carbs, which includes sugar. During the fermentation process, sugar in the grapes is converted to alcohol and carbon dioxide, and some residual sugar remains.
According to the USDA, all kinds of white wine, including champagne, provide about 3.8 grams of carbs per 5-ounce serving, with 1.4 being sugar. Wine and prosecco contain other nutrients as well. The nutritional content per 5-ounce serving includes:
- Calcium: 1 percent of the daily value (DV)
- Iron: 2 percent of the DV
- Potassium: 2 percent of the DV
- Magnesium: 3 percent of the DV
- Zinc: 2 percent of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 4 percent of the DV
- Riboflavin: 2 percent of the DV
Read more: What Just One Glass of Wine Does to Your Brain
To maintain good health, you should always consume prosecco and other alcoholic beverages in moderation. The Dietary Guidelines consider excessive alcohol consumption for women as four or more drinks daily or eight or more drinks per week, and five or more drinks daily or 15 or more drinks per week for men.
Even moderate drinking increases the risk of some types of cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. Alcohol also impairs cognitive performance, including attention, working memory and cognitive flexibility, as reported in a March 2018 study in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.
- Consorzio Tutela: "Types of Prosecco"
- Environmental Geochemistry and Health: "Geochemical Fingerprints of "Prosecco" Wine Based on Major and Trace Elements"
- Dietary Guidelines: "Appendix 9. Alcohol"
- Dietary Guidelines: "Appendix 2. Estimated Calorie Needs per Day, by Age, Sex, and Physical Activity Level"
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: "What Is A Standard Drink?"
- USDA: "Nutrition Comparison of Sweet Dessert Wine and Red Wine"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for White Wine"
- Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience: "Light Alcohol Consumption Does Not Protect Cognitive Function: A Longitudinal Prospective Study"
- Wine Folly: "Champagne Sweetness Scale: From Brut to Doux"
- National Cancer Institute: "Alcohol and Cancer Risk"
- The International Wine and Food Society: "10 Facts About Prosecco"