One of the biggest questions most people ask when they start a low-carb or keto diet is: can I drink alcohol?
And the answer is: it depends.
You might already know that low-carb liquors like vodka and tequila are fine in small amounts on the ketogenic diet, but what about wine?
Most wines are high in residual sugar and will send your blood sugar and insulin out of control. But there are some options when it comes to wine.
Get all the details on what to look for in a keto-friendly wine, how to choose the best pinot noir, Merlot, or Sauvignon Blanc, and how much wine you can enjoy on a keto diet.
You may have heard it’s best to stick to “dry” wines while on a keto diet, but what exactly does that mean?
What Makes a Wine “Dry”?
What is a “dry wine” and can both red and white wines be dry?
Essentially, a wine is considered “dry” if it contains less than 10g 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 keyword “dry wine” whenever it comes time to pick one.
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 easiest ways to distinguish keto wines from non-keto wines when 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 is doing this well.
But since most of this information is unavailable, it helps to know which types of low-carb wines you can safely sip on.
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 Picks for Red and White Keto Wines
If you need a quick reference for the top red and white keto wines, these are the best seven to pick (in order of lowest net carbs to highest):
#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 3g of carbs[*].
#2. Chardonnay. 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 3.2g 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 3.4g of carbs per serving size[*].
#5. Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Sauvignon may not be the absolute lowest in carbs, but at 3.8g per 5oz. 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. A Pinot Blanc, which closely resembles a Pinot Grigio, also clocks in at 3.8g 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 3g and 3.8g of carbs.
However, you will see a much different picture when you compare these seven to the rest of the wines out there.
8 Red Wines Ranked By Net Carbs
In the top keto-friendly wines, the difference in carbs may be negligible.
But that’s not always the case when it comes to all wines.
Here’s how the most popular red wines stack up against each other (in order of lowest to highest carbs):
- Pinot Noir: 3.4g of carbs per 5oz.[*]
- Merlot: 3.7g of carbs[*]
- Cabernet Sauvignon: 3.8g of carbs[*]
- Syrah: 4g of carbs[*]
- Red Zinfandel (as opposed to a White Zin., which is actually pink in color): 4.2g of carbs[*]
- Port Wine: 9g of carbs[*]
- Sherry Wine: 9g of carbs[*]
- Red Sangria: 13.8g of carbs per glass, plus 10g of sugar
As you can see from the last three wines, not all red wines are okay on a low-carb diet.
One glass of sweet red wine is enough to eat up half your carb budget for the day if you’re following a 20g per day approach.
And if you decide to have a second pour, you could easily kick yourself out of ketosis.
It’s also not safe to assume all white wines are any better.
13 White Wines Ranked By Net Carbs
White wines can also vary in how many carbs you’re getting per glass.
Here’s a breakdown of the top white wines (from lowest to highest carbs):
- Sauvignon Blanc: 3g of carbs[*]
- Chardonnay: 3.2g of carbs[*]
- Champagne: 3.8g of carbs[*]
- Prosecco: 3.8g of carbs[*]
- Pinot Grigio: 3.8g of carbs[*]
- Pinot Gris: 3.8g of carbs[*]
- Pinot Blanc: 3.8g of carbs[*]
- Sparkling White Wine: 4g of carbs[*]
- Riesling: 5.5g of carbs[*]
- Rose: 5.8g of carbs[*]
- White Zinfandel: 5.8g of carbs[*]
- Moscato: 7.8g of carbs[*]
- White Sangria: 14g of carbs per glass, plus 9.5g of sugar[*]
Similar to the red wine list, the white wines and sparkling wine towards the bottom of this list are anything but a safe bet on your keto diet.
Just one glass is enough to tip your carb balance out of ketosis — and most people don’t usually stop at their first drink.
To give you a better resource to refer to anytime, steer clear of these next wines if you’re following the ketogenic diet.
If you plan on drinking wine while on a keto diet, don’t order these wines:
- Red or White Sangria
- Pink Zinfandel
- Port/Sherry wine
- Dessert wine
- Wine coolers
- Frozen wine pops
While the last two wines weren’t mentioned earlier, consuming wine coolers and frozen wine pops is less like drinking alcohol and more like consuming an alcoholic sugar bomb.
Wine coolers, for example, contain 34g of carbs and 33g of sugar per 11 oz. can[*].
Alcohol pops, such as frozen rose ́, also clock in high at 35g of carbs and 31g of sugar[*].
Keep in mind, if you really want to enjoy a frozen rose´ pop at a backyard barbeque, you can do so as long as you understand it will probably kick you out of ketosis.
When that happens, simply follow the tips in this guide to learn how to rebound faster after your cheat day.
If you don’t want to go through the keto transition again, you can also stick with keto-friendly wine brands, which can help lower your risk of being knocked out of ketosis altogether.
Similar to how companies are starting to cater to the low-carb crowd with more options for light beers, low-carb beers, and alcoholic (or hard) seltzer waters, winemakers are also taking note.
These two keto-friendly wine brands are paving the way for low-sugar and low-carb options that also taste good.
Keep a few bottles of these on hand and you’ll always have a wine you can trust, whether you’re going out to a party or spending the night in with friends.
This makes it easy to stay keto despite your active social life — and you won’t have to resort to diet soda mixed with hard liquor only.
The first keto wine brand focuses on delivering plenty of options so you’re never bored:
#1: Dry Farm Wines
Dry Farm Wines is the perfect solution for wine lovers who also happen to be following a ketogenic diet.
With a monthly subscription, their team will send you their best handpicked keto wines that are all-natural, low in alcohol and sulfites, free of additives, and 1 gram of sugar or less per bottle.
And since they’re on a subscription basis, your next batch of wines will show up right to your door.
The next wine company works well for people who prefer to buy their bottles individually instead of in bulk from a wine club subscription.
FitVine is a brand dedicated to making different wines that won’t sabotage your hard work.
Their wines are lower in sulfites, free of additives, and have less sugar than traditional bottles[*].
They also have a similar carb count to the best keto wines highlighted in this guide earlier.
Their Pinot Noir, for example, will run you 3.7g of carbs. But it only has a very low .03g of residual sugar (the amount of sugar left behind after fermentation)[*].
Even with these great keto options, you can’t drink the whole bottle or split one with a friend without potentially consuming too many carbs for the day and kicking yourself out of ketosis.
Remember, it can take just two glasses of wine to chisel away at a third of your day’s total carb count.
While this may be okay every once in a while, if you’re struggling to reach or maintain ketosis, you should consider lowering your alcohol intake, or eliminating it entirely, so you can reach your goals.
And that’s not the only thing to consider.
While you can certainly drink alcohol on a keto diet, you may want to reconsider doing so for the following reasons:
- Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and makes it easier to overeat and drink more, two things that will sabotage ketosis.
- It also switches off your fat burning potential. Your body prioritizes getting the alcohol out of your system over using your fat for energy. This may slow down or even stall weight loss and ketone production.
- You may have a lower alcohol tolerance. There are many anecdotal reports of lower tolerance and worse hangovers when you’re running off ketones.
So even though it’s perfectly fine to weave a drink into your weekly keto meal plan here and there, especially a glass of low-carb wine, it shouldn’t be something you do every day. Especially if weight loss is your goal.
Yes, there’s some evidence that wine is good for you. But if you’re drinking more wine for the antioxidant benefits, you may be better off with a non-alcoholic source like berries or colorful, low-carb vegetables.
You would need to drink a LOT of wine to see the benefits of it’s antioxidant content. And a serving that large could do more harm than good[*].
If you do decide to treat yourself to a glass of wine occasionally, remember to stick to the lower carb wines you’ll find in these categories:
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Pinot Noir
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Pinot Grigio
- Pinot Blanc
Don’t forget to cheers to your continued keto success!
Bookmark this page so you can always refer back to it when you’re in the mood for a glass of keto wine. You can also learn more low-carb drinking tips in this keto alcohol guide.