What is in a bottle of wine

The first time I ordered a glass of wine at a restaurant, I was shocked at how little wine was poured into my glass. The wine barely covered half the glass, and a far cry from what I like to pour myself at home. 

When you order a beer, you are getting a full glass (12 ounces or more). Why then does wine typically come in 5 ounce pours?

Infographic provided by Dealiem

Alcohol moderation

The real reason wine is limited to only a 5 ounce pour has to do with alcohol content versus the amount of liquid being consumed. This helps set guidelines and moderate alcohol consumption for a healthier lifestyle. 

Canada health guidelines for instance suggest women can consume up to 2 drinks a day (10 drinks a week), and men can consume  up to 3 drinks a day (15 drinks a week). Even moderate drinking can increase your risk of chronic diseases such as cancer. The guideline suggests you should also have a few non drinking days throughout the week.

‘One drink’ therefore should be somewhat equal in alcohol content across the board, amounting to roughly 17.2 ml of ‘pure alcohol’. Which is typically:

  • 1 beer (12 ounces) at 5% alcohol 
  • 1 glass of wine (5 ounces) at 12% alcohol 
  • 1 and a half ounce shot of liquor at 40% alcohol

When zero is the limit
Do not drink when:

  •  you are driving a vehicle or operating machinery and tools
  • Taken medicine or other drugs that interact with alcohol
  • Have mental or physical health problems or living with alcohol dependence
  • Pregnant or planning to be pregnant

How to pick a great bottle of wine 101

A good wine is very much subjective based on individual taste buds. The same way some people like dark vs. white vs. milk chocolate, it’s all based on personal preference.

Wines are usually classified as light, bold, sweet, tart, and sometimes spicy. It’s a matter of trial and error to find wines you enjoy and then look for those characteristics when choosing your next wine.

Sweetness is probably the easiest to spot when drinking a bottle of wine. In Ontario, wines will be labeled with a sugar content based on grams per liter. In other places, wine is labeled as extra dry, dry, medium, medium sweet, and sweet. 

Most wines are in the extra dry and dry range, between 0-15 grams of sugar/liter. Anything more than that, and you are probably looking at a dessert wine. 

Body refers to how the wine feels in your mouth and is described as light, medium, or full body. Generally, red wines will have a fuller body than white wines, and warmer climates will produce fuller bodies that cooler climates. 

Most wine drinkers will start out with light and sweet wines such as a rose before evolving to more complex flavors found in full bodied extra dry wines. 

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