[ADDITION] >> Sugar content now available on SAQ.com
Publié le 11 mai 2015 à 09h01 | Mis à jour le 14 mai 2015 | Mis à jour le 21 août 2018
Original text after the line
[ADDITION] >> About the frequency of analysis
The sugar content of each wine is analyzed at least once a year or when the vintage changes. Our laboratory performs some 8,000 analyses of this type every year.
In other words, the sugar content shown on SAQ.com product sheets will be updated as new vintages arrive.
[ADDITION] >> About the sugar contents listed by the LCBO and the analysis methods
Both the SAQ and the LCBO analyze sugar content using a Skalar continuous flow analyzer. Both company’s laboratories are ISO 17025 certified, which imposes the same strict conditions on the analysis process.
The data provided on SAQ.com are from the most recent analysis performed by our laboratory. Thus, for a given product, the posted sugar content may be different from that posted on the LCBO website.
In analyses of sugar content, the margin of error is ±9.0% for a given batch analyzed in a given location. This analytical uncertainty will be even greater for different batches analyzed in different laboratories. We regularly take part in international inter-laboratory studies in order to benchmark our results, and the accuracy of our sugar content analyses has been shown to be very high. For example, the values obtained in 2017 were very close to the average of the 18 participating laboratories.
[ADDITION] >> About the accuracy of the posted content
The analysis method used by our laboratory can accurately detect as little as about 1 gram of sugars per litre (g/l). Below that level, the product sheet will state that the product contains <1.2 g/l (where the “<”means “less than”).
The sugar analysis method also has an upper limit, beyond which no result can be reported. Over the years and as our laboratory’s needs have changed, we have altered our analysis method. That is why the maximum limit currently available for the most recent analysis of a product can vary from sheet to sheet. Depending on the product sheet, the content may be shown as >30 g/l, >60 g/l or >120 g/l (where the “>” means “greater than”).
[ADDITION] >> About consumption
As mentioned earlier, sugar content is expressed in grams per litre. These levels should be placed in a real-life context based on the amount of beverage consumed, as recommended by Éduc’alcool.
In a Journal de Montréal article (French only), nutritionist Isabelle Huot gave the example of a wine whose sugar content is 19 g/l. A standard 140-ml glass of this wine would contain 2.7 g of sugar, the equivalent to a little more than a half teaspoon of sugar. The recommended maximum of three glasses a day would thus work out to 8 g of sugar, about 2 teaspoons’ worth. While this amount should not be a problem for most consumers, it is something that diabetics should take into account.
As wine is a “living” thing that evolves over its lifespan, the characteristics of a given product can change from batch to batch. That is why the sugar content shown on each product sheet is for the most recently analyzed batch. Accordingly, the sugar content shown for a given product may change slightly depending on the vintage, batch or bottling.
No sugar content provided for some products
Analysis of the sugar content is not performed systematically for all products that the SAQ sells. For example, as France’s grands crus are usually dry wines whose production is tightly regulated by their respective appellations, analyzing their sugar content strikes us as less relevant for quality control purposes at least for the time being (we perform analyses based on sound risk management).
Sugar: a question of taste
It should be noted that the actual sugar content of an alcoholic beverage does not always correspond to the sweetness level perceived when tasting the beverage. Several factors can influence the perception of sugar, in particular the product’s acidity level. It is well known that acidity tends to cancel out the perception of sweetness.
That is why a product’s sugar content may appear at odds with its taste tag. This apparent discrepancy is explained by the fact that, as their name indicates, taste tags are intended to convey a general impression of how the product tastes.
To know for sure, there is nothing like asking advice from one of our in-store experts and tasting the recommended product yourself. After all, we have products for every taste!