The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has mandated that calorie labeling be instituted on standard menu items offered for sale in restaurants that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations (think Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Olive Garden) doing business under the same name, and offering for sale substantially the same menu items. Restaurants must comply by Dec. 1. Other restaurants may voluntarily comply.
The new guideline will apply to alcoholic beverages including wine, but will not affect wine bottle labels as that falls under the authority of the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The burden of determining calorie counts falls on restaurants, not on wineries.
As permitted by the mandate, most wine lists will only post a range of calories for each category of wine, not specific calories for each wine.
Diners rarely concern themselves with the calories in wine, which range from about 111 to 165 calories per 6-ounce glass (up to 275 calories for sweet dessert wines). Liquid calories in wine are metabolized differently than food calories and are not bioavailable. Many scientific studies show that wine in moderation does not lead to weight gain.
When we dine out, can’t we just drink wine to relax and enjoy the experience without worrying needlessly about calories?