Counting Calories During a Wine Tasting Weekend



Though living in a major city has its rewards and benefits, a trip out of town to Napa County, California is a treat.  As a lover of all things sweet, it was hard to resist this tempting offer. And when you’re on a diet, everything cheat-worthy is even more tempting. But like the saying goes, you only live once, and with a diet in mind, here’s how I navigated my calorie count in wine country.

Stags’ Leap off Silverado Trail was our first stop. The second Stags’, not the first, as we learned there are two. Visit’s are by reservation only, with a chance to reserve the Library for a full wine tasting with food pairing.

When counting calories, stick to white wine as they generally have less (roughly 140 cal per six ounce glass). But since this is a tasting, it’s okay to go for a little red too. Cabernet Sauvignon brings an average 130 calories per five fluid ounces. Our group tried both, in addition to wine on the “very-reserved”  list, or “rarely-served” list as our host, Brian, joked.

It’s best we don’t count those calories though, as the wine was dark and delicious…

Every wine was superb, as were the vineyard grounds. Brian gave a light tour and detailed the history behind the vineyard, which tells of a Native American fleeing hunters byway of a rock, now known as Stags’ Leap.



The second stop on our Wine in the West tour was the cozy estate of Duckhorn Vineyards. Their warm and welcoming patio with oversized wicker furniture is an inviting setting for an afternoon of wine tasting.

Fortunately, for those watching their intake, know the average pour is one ounce, so a tasting of Merlot brings in only 30 calories. With a few Merlots to try at Duckhorn, you can get out the door with less than 100 calories in your back pocket — which really isn’t bad!

Duckhorn Vineyards, who took first place in the “Wine Spectator” for their 2017 Merlot, is not to be missed.






The third stop on the map was Grgich Hills Estates. When you beat the French at their own game, you know you have something good going on. Mike Grgich won the 1976 “Judgment of Paris” competition thanks to a group of French judges who blind-tasted his Chardonnay to fame. It was the first time anything like that had ever happened, and you can still feel the joy resonating there today. There’s a laid-back atmosphere and comfort at Grgich’s place. The wines are crisp, and the cheese platters are exceptional.





By the end of your wine tasting trip you may decide to finish it off with a sweet night-cap. Prager Winery & Port Works, located right off St. Helena Highway, is covered from head-to-toe in dollar bills on the inside. The fun runs high at Prager, and the ports live up to their reputation. The place is family owned, with the owner himself coming out to introduce his tasty selections. Don’t think of this place as a calorie splurge, think of it as a cheat day well deserved. Because, after all that dieting, you’ve earned it!

Emerald contributor since March 2012


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