It is the ideal accompaniment to dinner and the end of a hard day’s work for many people. But how keto-friendly is wine?
While grain-based beverages like beer do not fit a ketogenic lifestyle, wine could. But unlike clear spirits, wine has some residual sugar.
In this article, you can find out which wines are keto-friendly due to their amount of carbs and how you may integrate them into your ketogenic diet.
Is Wine Keto-Friendly?
Ketogenic diets are based on the fact that proteins and carbohydrates stimulate insulin, but fat hardly does (Nuttall et al. 19911).
After the storage hormone regulates our body weight, insulin blocks the enzyme that breaks down body fat (Meijssen et al. 20012).
To keep insulin levels low, the core of ketogenic diets is the following macronutrient distribution:
- Fat: 75%
- Proteins: 20-25%
- Carbohydrates: 5-10%
These macros allow the body to empty carbohydrate stores and tap into body fat for energy.
Since many wines are high in sugar, they raise blood sugar and insulin levels. Therefore, the wrong wine can throw you out of ketosis and affect weight loss.
Can You Have Wine on the Keto Diet?
Fortunately, there are some keto-friendly wines that you can drink while maintaining ketosis.
The best keto and low-carb wines are so-called “dry wines” with as little residual sugar as possible.
Since many wines are low in sugar due to their natural aging process, we don’t necessarily rely on a low-carb wine designation.
Sweet wines, unlike dry wines, have a much shorter fermentation process. Because the yeast feeds on the grapes’ natural sugars during the fermentation process to produce alcohol, the result contains less sugar.
Nevertheless, this does not mean that wine, in general, contains hardly any sugar.
The shorter the fermentation process, the more sugar remains. This leftover sugar contributes to the sweet, fruity taste and many carbohydrates in the wine.
For this reason, you should look for the term “dry” when choosing wine so it doesn’t throw you out of ketosis.
How Many Carbs Are in Keto-Friendly Wine?
Although we now know that we should drink dry wine if we’re on keto, we don’t see how that designation translates into carbs.
You can divide wines into four general categories based on their residual sugar (*):
- Dry: Wine is dry if it does not exceed a residual sugar content of 4g/L, although the legislation allows the designation up to a residual sugar of 9g/L if acidity is high.
- Semi-dry: Wine is considered semi-dry up to a residual sugar of 12g/L or 18g/L in the case of high acidity.
- Medium-sweet: All wines that exceed the residual sugar content of 12-18g/L and fall below 45g/L are considered medium-sweet.
- Sweet: Above a residual sugar content of 45g/L, wine is considered sweet.
Since this categorization is based on German legislation, the designations in other countries may differ.
As a rule of thumb, natural dry wine with up to 4g/L residual sugar is keto-friendly, as long as you consume it in moderation.
How to Buy Keto-Friendly Wine Options
For a wine that suits a ketogenic diet, I recommend a three-step selection process:
- If the residual sugar content is on the label, you’ll choose an option with less than 4g/L. However, you will rarely find this information.
- In this case, choose a grape variety on the list below from a traditional winemaker you trust.
- Watch out for the designation as a dry wine. However, this can carry a range of 4 to 9 g/L of residual sugar due to the acidity.
However, with mass-produced wines from the supermarket, you must be careful even with the following keto-friendly grape varieties. Also, when it comes to wine, many customers are lured by the addictive factor of sugar.
Against this background, a well-known saying is mostly true:
“Life is too short to drink cheap wine.”
The Ultimate Guide to Keto Wines
Since the carbohydrates in wine are not only the residual sugar, the following keto wine lists give the total net carbohydrates per glass. Here, one serving equals 5 fl oz or 147 grams of wine.
Here are the best low-carb and keto wines to drink:
List of Best White Wines for Keto
1. Pinot Blanc
Since it has the least amount of carbohydrates and sugar, Pinot Blanc is probably the best dry keto wine.
With only 2.9 grams of carbohydrates per glass, Pinot Blanc is the only keto wine that can stay below 3 grams (*).
However, there is not much difference between the carbohydrate levels of the best keto-friendly white wines.
Therefore, we only range between 2.9 and 3.8 grams of carbohydrates, although there can, of course, be minor differences between producers.
2. Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon is mainly known for its freshness. However, due to the worldwide cultivation, there are significant differences in the taste of Sauvignon Blanc.
While in Austria and Germany, the note of freshly cut grass is characteristic, in New Zealand, for example, the grape variety can have nuances of coconut or pineapple.
In a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, you will find only 3 grams of carbohydrates on average (*).
3. Pinot Grigio
After Sauvignon Blanc, Burgundy varieties once again dominate the list of the best keto wines.
The next grape variety is known as Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, or in German, Grauburgunder. A glass of Pinot Gris holds just over 3 grams of carbohydrates (*).
Hence, Sauvignon Blanc just slightly beats Pinot Grigio among low-carb wines.
In contrast to the tangier Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay is a fuller-bodied grape variety. Nevertheless, both wines are considered dry.
Consequently, a glass of Chardonnay has only about 3.2 grams of carbohydrates, only slightly higher than a Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc (*).
Riesling is typically a light golden, medium-bodied wine with a touch of acidity and relatively low alcohol content.
With that said, a glass of dry Riesling has about 3.8 grams of carbohydrates, which is a bit more, but still keto-friendly (*).
Best Sparkling Wines for Keto
Unlike the previous wines, Champagne is not a grape variety but a territorial designation.
Accordingly, it is a sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France, but it is still produced and shaken using a particular method.
2. Sparkling Wine
Similar to conventional wine, you can categorize sparkling wine according to its residual sugar content.
For sparkling wine, a distinction is therefore made (*):
- brut nature: 0-3 g/L
- extra brut: 0-6 g/L
- brut: 0-12 g/L
- extra dry: 12-17 g/L
- dry: 17-32 g/L
- medium dry: 32-50 g/L
- sweet: > 50 g/L
Therefore, on average, a glass of dry sparkling wine has about 5 grams of carbohydrates (*).
However, if you look for a sparkling wine with the classification brut, only about 1.7 grams of carbohydrates can be found in the glass (*).
From brut nature to sweet, the classification illustrated above applies to all sparkling wines – just as it does to Champagne or Prosecco.
Prosecco is a light white sparkling wine with medium acidity. As with Champagne, it is a protected designation of origin. The Prosecco region is located in the northeast of Italy.
Until 2009, however, Prosecco was a grape variety now known as Glera.
Despite its protected origin, some Prosecco brands taste a bit sweeter, as they are sometimes intended for the masses.
Nevertheless, traditional Prosecco usually has brut to semi-dry flavors, which is why it doesn’t have to hide behind sparkling wine, even on a ketogenic diet.
A Prosecco with the higher quality designation DOCG brings on average only 3 grams of carbohydrates into your flute (*).
List of Best Red Wines for Keto
1. Pinot Noir
Once again, the number one red wine on our keto wine list is a Burgundy grape variety. Yet Pinot Noir adds only 3.4 grams of carbohydrates to a glass (*).
So this grape variety would still be in the top 5 for low-carb white wines.
However, Pinot Noir is my go-to keto wine because, unlike white wines, it can bring an extra set of health benefits. We will look at this in more detail later.
Gamay is also an old Burgundy variety that has been partially forgotten in some countries. Nevertheless, there are a few wineries that produce excellent Gamay.
Since it is related to Pinot Noir, it is not surprising that a glass of Gamay contains almost the same amount of carbohydrates, 3.5 grams (*).
3. Cabernet Franc
Besides the better-known Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Cabernet Franc represents the third grape variety in classic Bordeaux wines.
Although Cabernet Franc is drunk precisely in the form of these Cuvee wines, you are guaranteed to find single-varietal versions as well.
A glass of pure Cabernet Franc contains about 3.6 grams of carbohydrates (*).
Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are popular in Europe, America, and South America. As Cabernet Merlot or in traditional Bordeaux wine, these grape varieties form a Cuvee. Here, the Merlot rounds out the more substantial Cabernet.
At 3.7 grams of carbohydrates per glass, Merlot is only slightly more keto-friendly than Cabernet Sauvignon (*).
A glass of Syrah stays under 3.8 grams of carbohydrates by a hair’s breadth, just ahead of Cabernet Sauvignon on the keto wine list (*).
Syrah is a full-bodied, dry red wine that originates in France’s Rhone Valley.
Pairing the keto-friendly wine with game, beef, or lamb is a great choice. However, a glass of Syrah can also be enjoyable on its own.
6. Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is probably one of the most well-known red wine grape varieties. Moreover, it originates from the Bordeaux region.
Interestingly, it was created by crossing Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.
At just over 3.8 grams of carbohydrates per glass, Cabernet Sauvignon is as dry and keto-friendly a red wine as Merlot (*).
The Sangiovese grape variety is better known by its regional name, Chianti, which usually hides 95-100% Sangiovese wine.
This Italian red wine is usually spicy and fruity, with pepper, cherry, and strawberry notes.
With 3.85 grams of carbohydrates per glass, the wine does not have to hide among the competition and, in any case, is still a keto winner (*).
Why Wine Is Keto-Friendly
Wine is usually reduced to the fact that it is an alcoholic beverage. However, contrary to popular belief, even alcohol can be healthy.
According to this Dutch study, moderate alcohol consumption can extend life by up to five years compared to abstinence (Streppel et al. 20093).
In addition, one study found that moderate alcohol consumption carries the lowest risk of heart disease. But, of course, we are talking about a single glass of wine a day (Corrao et al. 20004).
But while spirits and beer can have adverse effects, wine consumption can reduce cardiovascular disease mortality.
According to the Copenhagen City Heart Study, even 3-5 glasses of wine a day could reduce mortality by an astonishing 50% (Gronbaek et al. 19955).
The secret behind this lies in the production of the wine.
While some health benefits are due to alcohol, most come from bioactive substances in wine called polyphenols.
In particular, the beneficial effects of wine are due to a class of polyphenols known as flavonoids.
Tea, onions, and broccoli are also rich in these flavonoids.
Since red wine is made from the whole grape, fermentation can result in ten times the amount of polyphenols.
White wine, on the other hand, is fermented only after the skins are removed.
While only up to 30 milligrams of flavonoids are formed in white wine, red wine can produce up to 1000 milligrams per liter.
For example, polyphenols thin the blood, relax the blood vessels, and prevent heart disease (Haseeb et al. 20176).
The flavonoid resveratrol is one of the most potent polyphenols. However, since it comes from the grape skin, it is only found in red wine.
Moreover, the body can only absorb resveratrol when it is drunk in the form of wine.
Resveratrol helps prevent atherosclerosis and blood clotting and increases life expectancy (Biagi et al. 20157).
Benefits of Red Wine for Keto
Surprisingly, red wine, which tends to be sweeter, helps lower blood sugar and insulin levels (Shai et al. 20078).
Therefore, red wine is ideally drunk with a meal. This way, it helps keep blood sugar and insulin in the basement, which reduces the risk of a meal throwing you out of ketosis.
You’re probably familiar with the classic image of a French family having dinner. Rightfully so, a bottle of red wine is not to be missed.
For this reason, French people probably have half as much cardiovascular disease as Americans (Galinski et al. 20169).
Red wine with a meal prevents blood pressure from rising. In addition, red wine protects the endothelium of blood vessels from cholesterol residues and glucose.
Since French people generally drink more alcohol, this fact is also known as the “French Paradox” (Fragopoulou et al. 200910).
The Downsides of Wine on Keto
Even though wine can bring health benefits, you won’t lose weight or flatter your health if you consume it excessively.
Therefore, according to studies, the best health benefit is obtained with a glass of red wine a day (Yuan et al. 199711).
In contrast, too much alcohol increases the risk of heart failure, cancer, liver disease, and mortality in general.
In addition, there are other disadvantages of alcohol consumption in ketogenic diets:
- Although there are no studies about it, you tend to get drunk faster on the keto diet, which you should not underestimate.
- Since the liver preferentially takes care of breaking down alcohol, this can inhibit ketone production and weight loss (Cronise et al. 201512).
- It’s no secret that a large appetite usually follows increased alcohol consumption. The more you drink, the more likely you are to overeat afterward.
Finally, science gives us the ideal amount of alcohol per day, about 90 ml of wine for women and about 180 ml for men (Corrao et al. 200013).
Indeed, you do not have to drink wine every day. However, now and then, 1-2 glasses of the right wine are allowed even on the keto diet.
Best Keto Wine Brands to Buy
To be honest, I’m not a big fan of wine brands because they often imply mass production. And the masses love sweet wine, which is why sugar is often added to these wines.
The best keto wine is traditionally vinified. That’s why you should find a winery or two you trust. Ideally, it’s near you, and you buy the wine from the farm.
Otherwise, the certification of the area of origin can help. If in doubt, a wine app can give you helpful information.
Besides Germany and Austria, France is still a safe bet for traditional quality wine with little residual sugar.
Pinot Noir is my favorite of the keto wines, as it is very dry on the one hand and brings the health benefits of red wine on the other.
There’s nothing wrong with a classic Bordeaux either. Usually, it is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc.
But if you are located in the United States and not a Bordeaux wine nerd like me, there is a great keto wine brand.
Dry Farm Wines is a brand dedicated to low-carb wines. Their concept stands for biodynamic, keto-friendly wine with residual sugar of less than 1 g/L and lower alcohol content.
In Moderation Wine is Fine
If you choose the right wine, 1-2 glasses won’t throw you out of ketosis. Moreover, moderate alcohol consumption can even be beneficial to your health, which is especially the case with red wine.
Therefore, the ideal keto wine has the following characteristics:
- Low residual sugar content (dry)
- No added sugar
- No chemical additives
- Lass than 15% alcohol
To enjoy wine on the keto diet without worry, ask a professional wine merchant for dry varieties.
This list of the best low-carb grape varieties will help you choose wherever you shop. With traditional vinification, they are always keto-friendly.
In addition, high-quality sparkling wines exist with exceptionally low residual sugar. Therefore, look for the “brut” designation when choosing.
Best Keto Wine List FAQ
Can I drink wine on keto?
Wine is allowed in moderation on keto. For example, 1-2 glasses of Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, or Pinot Noir a day are perfectly acceptable.
What wines are Keto friendly?
Dry wines like Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, or Pinot Noir are suitable for the keto diet.
What wine has the least amount of carbs?
Pinot Blanc is the white wine with the least amount of carbs. The best red low-carb grape variety is Pinot Noir.
Can you drink wine on Keto and still lose weight?
You can drink wine on keto and lose weight, as long as you are not binge drinking. For example, 1-2 glasses of very dry wine such as Sauvignon Blanc are perfectly acceptable.
1Nuttall FQ, Gannon MC. Plasma glucose and insulin response to macronutrients in nondiabetic and NIDDM subjects. Diabetes Care. 1991 Sep;14(9):824-38. doi: 10.2337/diacare.14.9.824. Review. PubMed PMID: 1959475.
2Meijssen S, Cabezas MC, Ballieux CG, Derksen RJ, Bilecen S, Erkelens DW. Insulin mediated inhibition of hormone sensitive lipase activity in vivo in relation to endogenous catecholamines in healthy subjects. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Sep;86(9):4193-7. doi: 10.1210/jcem.86.9.7794. PubMed PMID: 11549649.
3Streppel MT, Ocké MC, Boshuizen HC, Kok FJ, Kromhout D. Long-term wine consumption is related to cardiovascular mortality and life expectancy independently of moderate alcohol intake: the Zutphen Study. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2009 Jul;63(7):534-40. doi: 10.1136/jech.2008.082198. Epub 2009 Apr 30. PubMed PMID: 19406740.
4Corrao G, Rubbiati L, Bagnardi V, Zambon A, Poikolainen K. Alcohol and coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis. Addiction. 2000 Oct;95(10):1505-23. doi: 10.1046/j.1360-0443.2000.951015056.x. PubMed PMID: 11070527.
5Grønbaek M, Deis A, Sørensen TI, Becker U, Schnohr P, Jensen G. Mortality associated with moderate intakes of wine, beer, or spirits. BMJ. 1995 May 6;310(6988):1165-9. doi: 10.1136/bmj.310.6988.1165. PubMed PMID: 7767150; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2549555.
6Haseeb S, Alexander B, Baranchuk A. Wine and Cardiovascular Health: A Comprehensive Review. Circulation. 2017 Oct 10;136(15):1434-1448. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.030387. Review. PubMed PMID: 28993373.
7Biagi M, Bertelli AA. Wine, alcohol and pills: What future for the French paradox?. Life Sci. 2015 Jun 15;131:19-22. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2015.02.024. Epub 2015 Apr 1. Review. PubMed PMID: 25841977.
8Shai I, Wainstein J, Harman-Boehm I, Raz I, Fraser D, Rudich A, Stampfer MJ. Glycemic effects of moderate alcohol intake among patients with type 2 diabetes: a multicenter, randomized, clinical intervention trial. Diabetes Care. 2007 Dec;30(12):3011-6. doi: 10.2337/dc07-1103. Epub 2007 Sep 11. PubMed PMID: 17848609.
9Galinski CN, Zwicker JI, Kennedy DR. Revisiting the mechanistic basis of the French Paradox: Red wine inhibits the activity of protein disulfide isomerase in vitro. Thromb Res. 2016 Jan;137:169-173. doi: 10.1016/j.thromres.2015.11.003. Epub 2015 Nov 7. PubMed PMID: 26585763; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4706467.
10Fragopoulou E, Demopoulos CA, Antonopoulou S. Lipid minor constituents in wines. A biochemical approach in the French paradox. International Journal of Wine Research. 2009;1:131-143. https://doi.org/10.2147/IJWR.S4587.
11Yuan JM, Ross RK, Gao YT, Henderson BE, Yu MC. Follow up study of moderate alcohol intake and mortality among middle aged men in Shanghai, China. BMJ. 1997 Jan 4;314(7073):18-23. doi: 10.1136/bmj.314.7073.18. PubMed PMID: 9001474; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2125578.
12Cronise RJ, Sinclair DA, Bremer AA. Oxidative Priority, Meal Frequency, and the Energy Economy of Food and Activity: Implications for Longevity, Obesity, and Cardiometabolic Disease. Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2017 Feb;15(1):6-17. doi: 10.1089/met.2016.0108. Epub 2016 Nov 21. Review. PubMed PMID: 27869525; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5326984.
13Corrao G, Rubbiati L, Bagnardi V, Zambon A, Poikolainen K. Alcohol and coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis. Addiction. 2000 Oct;95(10):1505-23. doi: 10.1046/j.1360-0443.2000.951015056.x. PubMed PMID: 11070527.