“Should I have dry wine or sweet wine?”
There’s no single answer to this common question about which type of wine between the two is better. Your preference for either dry or sweet wine normally depends on your taste, but one deciding factor can be which of these might be the healthier option.
Good health has been a major concern for people over the years as lifestyles have changed dramatically with the advancement of technology, and more information about health and wellness is being continuously discovered.
So, between dry wine and sweet wine, which one is healthier? Let’s take a look.
What Is Wine?
Before delving into the question of which wine is better, we must first understand what wine is. Simply put, wine is a drink made from fermented grapes. Harvested grapes are picked, crushed, and left to ferment. Different wines undergo a different fermentation process before bottling, which may affect their taste.
Dry wine is a type of wine that has no residual sugar. The fermentation process in making dry wine is left to finish completely without interruptions, allowing yeast to deplete the sugar. No sugar then means that the wine will not be sweet. Instead, you’ll be able to taste the fruit.
The term “dry” is commonly misused because some take it literally. What is perceived to be dry by our senses is not what is meant when referring to wines.
Don’t mistake alcohol for dry wines either, as dry wine doesn’t necessarily pertain to wine that has higher alcohol content. A wine can be dry and high in alcohol, but there are also sweet wines high in alcohol. People may opt for a low-sugar wine if they want to cut down on the sugar but not on the taste.
On the other hand, sweet wines are literally sweet and keep a higher amount of residual sugar after fermentation.
When fermenting grape juice, winemakers stop the process before all the sugar is depleted, thus leaving behind some sweetness. The residual sugar makes the wine sweet, hence its name.
Red has its own sweetness chart, which is briefly discussed below:
- Bone-dry wine, which almost don’t contain any residual sugar. This is advisable for people who don’t like sugar at all in their drinks.
- Wines that contain tiny amounts of residual sugar.
- Original dry wines. They contain a much higher amount of sugar.
Dry Wine Vs. Sweet Wine: What’s The Difference?
The following are factors that differentiate dry wine from sweet wine:
- Fermentation Time
The exceptional determinant of dry or sweet wine is the time taken to ferment the grape juice. In making dry wine, fermentation goes on for a longer time, and for sweet wine, fermentation takes a shorter time.
- Residual Sugar
Wines that contain a higher amount of residual sugar, normally above 35 grams after fermentation, are sweet. For dry wines, they have lower amounts of residual sugar, normally below 10 grams. The area in between is called off-dry.
Another key point that differentiates the two wines is the calories present. A glass of dry wine contains about 75 calories while the sweet wine has 125 calories per glass.
- Sweetness Sensitivity
A person’s sweetness sensitivity varies. Sometimes, this can make the wine from very ripe grapes can give the impression of being sweet to some people even when it's dry.
Factors That Affect The Perception Of Sweet And Dry
For beginners, it can be difficult to differentiate between fruit-styled wine and sweet wine. Here are some factors that will give you a clear picture between the two:
Tannins contain grape skins, seeds, and stems. These tannins bind with the protein in our saliva, causing a dried-out sensation when we drink wine. The intensity of the sensation varies from person to person. The more tannins present, the dryer the wine.
Acidity here pertains to flavor rather than the feeling in your mouth. Acidity is often mistaken for tannin. The more acidity in the wine, the dryer it is. Immature grapes contain higher acidity levels.
The longer wine takes to ferment, the higher the alcohol content. It is the only factor that doesn’t influence classifying a wine as sweet or dry.
Benefits Of Wine
Now that you know the difference between dry and sweet wine, let’s take a look at the health benefits that wines have in general:
- Rich In Antioxidants
Red wine is specifically rich in antioxidants. This property prevents cell damage caused by inflammation. Antioxidants are also known to fight off free radicals that might cause problems in human body cells. Basically, wine can help protect our body cells from infection.
- Boosts The Immune System
According to research, the daily consumption of wine in regulated amounts can help boost your body’s defense system.
Antioxidant levels in wine help provide an extra boost to the immune system by fighting off viruses. Resveratrol can prevent viruses from multiplying once they enter your body. Wine can also help in treating signs of the flu and colds.
- Aids In A Long Life
Since wine can help boost our immune systems, this also helps extend our lifespan. Of course, this does not mean we can drink wine in excessive amounts. Moderation should always be applied so that we can enjoy its most desired benefits.
- Reduces The Risk Of Heart Disease
Researchers believe that the high concentration of polyphenol antioxidants present in red wine helps reduce the risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular diseases.
These are just a few important benefits of wine. There are many others and researchers are still conducting more studies to discover more health benefits of drinking wine.
Which Wine Is Healthier?
Upon comparing dry wines with sweet wines, it's safe to conclude that dry wines are healthier than sweet wines because it has low amounts of sugar. High amounts of sugar in the human body can cause health problems like heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. This doesn’t mean sweet wine causes these problems, but it’s a factor to be considered.
Wines are considered healthy alcoholic beverages if consumed well. Balancing your food with moderate wine intake can help you achieve a healthy diet. Learn how to buy good wine so that you can keep away from bad products and only consume wine that’s high in quality.