Units and calories in wine

Get the facts about wine and what you can do to cut back on the amount you drink.


A large glass of 13% wine puts a woman over the government's lower risk guidelines. Another small glass (125ml) will put men over the guidelines too.

If you regularly drink over these guidelines, you could be increasing your chances of developing long-term health conditions. Find out more about the effects of alcohol.

Check the strength of your wine

Checking wine's ABV (alcohol by volume) will give you a guide to how strong it is. The ABV tells you what percentage of the drink is made up of alcohol. For example, wine with 12% ABV is 12% pure alcohol. The higher the percentage, the more alcohol is present. In this sense, it's better to opt for lower ABV wines.Do you know what an alcohol unit is? Find out here...

A large glass of wine contains as many calories as a cornetto ice cream

Wine is often consumed at dinner time alongside a meal but did you know that a large glass of wine (250ml) with 13% ABV can add 228 calories to your evening supper? This is similar to a Cornetto ice cream or two fish fingers. A standard glass of red or white wine (175ml) with 13% ABV could also contain up to 160 calories which is similar to a slice of Madeira cake. Often when sharing wine, we assume we’re drinking less calories but a bottle of 13% ABV wine shared between two could mean you are consuming 340 calories each, that’s the equivalent of a pain au chocolat pastry each!!For more facts: find out how many calories you're consuming with our unit and calorie calculator and take look at our top tips on how to use up leftover wine once you’ve opened the bottle.

Things you can do right now to reduce the amount of wine you are drinking

One large glass of wine can put you over the lower risk guidelines for the day. To stay on track, try these top tips:

1. Mind your measures If you're used to drinking large glasses of wine, try switching to smaller measures like a standard-sized glass. Remember to check the volume too. Wines with higher ABV have more alcohol and units. If you're drinking at home, swap those cavernous 250ml wine glasses for a set of 125ml ones.

2. Tackle your triggers If you always have a glass of wine to celebrate a good day at work, or commiserate a bad one, try doing something else instead. An alcohol-free dinner out makes a feel-good treat, while a gym session is a great way to relieve stress.

3. Give alcohol-free days a go If you drink regularly, your body starts to build up a tolerance to alcohol. This is one of the main reasons why many medical experts recommend taking regular days off from drinking to ensure you don't become addicted to alcohol . Test out having a break for yourself and see what positive results you notice.

4. Treat yourself Trade up to a special bottle of wine that's expensive enough to encourage you to saviour it over a few days, rather than down it all in one night. This way, you'll space out the units you're consuming.

5. Track your drinking over time If you choose to drink, recording exactly what you've drunk during the week will give you a great idea of whether you're within the guidelines. MyDrinkaware, our web-based drink tracking tool, is perfect for this.

Discover more practical ways to cut back on wine with our tips on cutting down.

Is wine good for the heart? Find out here...

How to put your leftover wine to good use...

Are you drinking too much?

Find out how many units you are drinking

Compare your drinking to the government's lower risk guidelines.

Try our Unit Calculator

Take a drinking self assessment

Answer these simple questions and find out what kind of a relationship you have with alcohol.

Assess your drinking

How to cut down

We have many tips and strategies for cutting down at home or when out and about.

Tips on how to cut down

Page updated: February 2014