One of the biggest questions most people ask when they start a low-carb or keto diet is: Can you drink alcohol? The answer is, it depends.
You might already know that low-carb alcoholic drinks like vodka and tequila are fine in small amounts on the ketogenic diet, but what about wine? For all you wine lovers out there, this article should clear up everything you need to know about keto wine.
Most wines have a high sugar content and will send your insulin and blood sugar levels out of control. But there are some keto-friendly wine options.
What Is Keto-Friendly Wine?
You may have heard that it’s best to stick to “dry” wines while on a keto diet, but you might not know what that means.
What Makes a Wine “Dry”?
What is a “dry wine” and can both red and white wines be dry?
A wine is considered “dry” if it contains less than 10 grams of sugar per bottle. But without nutrition information printed on the bottle or the menu, how can you tell which wines are lower in sugar?
First, you have to understand that sugar in wine has a specific function. During the fermentation process, the yeasts feed on the natural sugar from the grapes to produce ethanol (or alcohol).
Because of this, the result doesn’t contain as much sugar as it did in the beginning when it was a mash of grapes. But that doesn’t mean wine is sugar-free.
Sweet wines, as opposed to dry ones, have a much shorter fermentation process. Since the yeast does not have a chance to consume all the sugar, more of it gets left behind. This leftover sugar contributes to the sweet, fruity flavor, and as a result, you’ll find more carbs in each glass or bottle.
That’s why you’ll always want to look for the phrase “dry wine” when choosing a wine.
What About Biodynamic Wine?
Biodynamic wines may also be lower in sugar. A wine is biodynamic when it’s grown according to a specific set of farming practices that are even more stringent than the organic label requires.
Biodynamic farms use beyond-sustainable practices that leave the land in better shape than when they started. That means chemical fertilizers and pesticides are out of the question and all plants and animals work in tandem to create a fertile environment with rich topsoils.
Looking for biodynamic or dry-farmed wines are the two easiest ways to distinguish keto wines from non-keto wines, whether you’re at a restaurant or choosing a wine at the liquor store or supermarket.
Some brands will also show you the residual sugar amounts — or what’s left over after fermentation — but this can be harder to find. Toward the end of this guide, you’ll see which brand does this well.
But since most of this information is unavailable, it helps to know which types of low-carb wines you can safely sip.
Best Keto Wines by Type
On top of looking for the words “dry wine” in the description, you can also filter out wines by knowing which specific types are naturally lower in sugar.
7 Best Overall Red and White Low-Carb Wines
If you need a quick reference for the top red and white keto wines, these are the best (in order of lowest net carbs to highest). It is nearly impossible to find a wine with zero carbs or sweeteners, but these provide viable options.
1. Sauvignon Blanc
Despite its almost sweet crispness, sauvignon blanc contains the least amount of carbs and sugars, making it a top dry keto wine to choose.
In just one glass of sauvignon blanc, you’ll find only 3 grams of carbs[*].
While both sauvignon blanc and chardonnay are considered dry wines, the former is a light-bodied wine and the latter is just the opposite: a full-bodied wine.
Despite this difference, a glass of chardonnay will run you 3.2 grams of carbs, just slightly above a sauvignon blanc, but not by much[*].
3. Pinot Noir
As the first red on the top keto wines list, pinot noir isn’t too far off from a glass of chardonnay with just 3.4 grams of carbs per serving size[*].
5. Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet sauvignon may not be the absolute lowest in carbs, but at 3.8 grams per 5 oz. glass, it’s still a decently dry red wine for anyone following a ketogenic diet[*].
6. Pinot Grigio
A glass of pinot grigio will set you back around the same amount of carbs as a glass of cabernet sauvignon[*]. And if you’re in the mood for a white wine, pinot grigio and pinot blanc are about equal nutritionally.
7. Pinot Blanc
Pinot blanc, which closely resembles a pinot grigio, also clocks in at 3.8 grams of carbs per serving[*].
You may have noticed there isn’t much of a difference between the carb counts in these top seven keto-friendly wines. Each glass from this list ranges between 3 and 3.8 grams of carbs.