Dry Wine, Sweet Wine and Your Health


It’s been known for years now that red wine, when drunk in moderation, can have surprising health benefits. Getting those benefits isn’t as easy as reaching for the first bottle of red you see, though. Here’s why the difference between dry and sweet wine matters, and how you can pick the best wine for you.

Health benefits of wine

It’s been found that red wine has a good effect on your heart, reducing the risk of heart disease if you drink about two glasses a week. It also contains high levels of polyphenols and antioxidants, both of which have a whole range of health benefits you can take advantage of. It’s been suggested that it can even improve your memory and help you keep weight off, too.

Why the difference matters

So, why won’t any bottle of red wine do? The answer lies in how the wine is actually made. Before the grapes that make the wine are harvested, they contain natural sugars. These sugars are what become the alcohol in the wine during the fermentation process. Of course, a wine is healthier if it contains less sugar. This is why a dry red is considered better for your health than a sweet one, although sweet reds have plenty of health benefits too.

What makes a wine sweet vs. dry

There isn’t a hard and fast rule as to what makes a wine dry or sweet, but it does depend on the residual sugar left in it after fermentation. Any wine with less than 10 grams of sugar is considered dry, and any with over 35 grams is considered. The zone in between 10 – 35 grams is considered ‘off-dry’.

How to tell the difference

It can sometimes be difficult to tell what’s a dry wine and what’s a sweet one, due to their flavor. ‘Fruit forward’ wines are wines that taste sweet due to their fruit content, and so can taste very sweet when they’re technically a dry wine. This can happen even when there’s no fruit other than grapes in the wine, such as the black cherry taste often found in merlots, or the blackberry tasted in zinfadels.

Examples of dry reds you should try

To get the most out of your red wine, you should pair it with a Mediterranean style dinner. The great thing about dry red wines is that they’re very easy to pair with food. Here’s a small list of some of the wines you could try. Sample a few and find one that suits your palate.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Malbec
  • Carmenere
  • Grenache
  • Zinfadel
  • Sangiovese
  • Pinot Noir
  • Syrah

Of course, this is only a small list, and there may be others out there that suit you best. Sample as many as you can and find the perfect wine for you. Before long, you’ll have found the perfect wine and you’ll be reaping the health benefits, too. What’s not to love?

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