As someone who is watching their carb intake, you might be wondering if wine is off-limits. The good news is that you can still enjoy a glass of wine on a keto diet – you just need to choose the right type.
In this article, we'll outline what wine has the least amount of sugar, and what some of the best keto wines are on the market. So, whether you're wanting to enjoy a glass of red or white wine on your keto diet, read on for more information.
Finding keto friendly wine can be hard
If you’re following a keto diet and don’t know which wine to buy, the answer is simple. The best wine for keto is one that contains as little sugar as possible.
Easy enough, right? Now, how can you tell how much sugar a wine at your local bottle shop has? You can't!
Wine doesn’t have to have a nutritional info table, so its sugar content can’t be discerned from the label. You can ask an attendant, but chances are they’ll have no idea, and the information is generally not easily found by Googling the wine either.
Generally speaking, you can ask for a dry wine, meaning one with less sugar, but “dry” isn’t an exact measurement. Plenty of mainstream commercially available wines purports to be a “dry red” or a “dry white” and still contain around 2 grams of sugar per glass.
There are plenty of very keto-friendly wines out there, it’s just that finding them is complicated by a lack of transparency and vague labelling.
That’s one of the reasons why Feravina exists. We don’t stock any wine until we know that its sugar level is less than 0.5 grams net carbs per glass, with most coming in at around 0.2 grams per glass.
So how much sugar is in wine?
Wine can range in sugar content, depending on the type of grape used, how ripe the grapes were when picked, and whether or not the fermentation was stopped before all the sugar in the grape juice was consumed by the yeast. Overall, dry wines tend to have less sugar than sweet wines. For example, a typical dry red wine may contain a couple of grams of sugar per litre, while a sweet dessert wine like Port can contain 50 to 200 grams of sugar per litre.
Some types of wine also have added sugars, which can increase the carb and calorie content. An example of this would be Rieslings that contain süssreserve, which is a German term that refers to the addition of unfermented grape juice to a dry Riesling for extra sweetness.
Sparkling wine is a common repository of hidden sugar. Moscato – a popular Italian sparkling wine – can contain up to 80 grams of sugar per litre. And Passion Pop – a type of Australian fizzy wine – contains even more sugar, with up to just under 100 grams per litre.
So if you're watching your sugar intake, it's best to steer clear of these types of wines. But don't worry – there are plenty of keto-friendly wines out there that you can enjoy without having to worry about going over your carb limit.
Is there a way to tell how much sugar is in wine?
There are a few ways you can determine how much sugar a wine might have.
Some wines have indications of residual sugar on their labels. Though rare, these examples include:
German Rieslings: They will often indicate whether a Riesling is dry or not on the label. Trocken means dry, while Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese, and Eiswein are all wines with varying degrees of sweetness. However, there is no indication whether a Trocken Riesling has 1g/L or 16g/L of sugar since both would be considered dry.
Some French white wines: Where relevant, French wines from notably the Loire Valley, but a few other regions as well, will have the words Sec, Demi-Sec, Moelleux on the label. Sec being dry and the rest being increasing indications of sweetness. Again, Sec doesn’t mean bone-dry and there might be up to 16g/L residual sugar.
Champagne: Wines carry labels related to their sweetness. Extra-Brut, Brut, Sec, Demi-Sec. The driest designation (drier than these others) is a bit unofficial and has several names: Brut Nature, Brut Integrale, Brut Zero etc. Sweeter Champagne classified as Moelleux and Doux also technically exists but really sweet Champagne is extraordinarily rare these days and virtually impossible to find in Australia.
Beyond these examples that normally only differentiate sweet wines from dry wines, there is no indication on a label that would distinguish between the carb level of two nominally dry wines. One could be 1g/L and another 10g/L, and we’d never know just from looking at it, and probably not from tasting it either, since anything lower than 12g/L is difficult to detect for the untrained palate, and even a trained one.
There are no reliable patterns in terms of variety or region that can be used to find super low-carb wines. One basically needs to get the info from the winery directly or get an importer/distributor to find the information out for them. Here are a couple of charts that give some idea though in terms of varieties and their sweetness:
(Source: Wine Folly)
But as we said before, because wine labelling doesn’t include sugar content, you’re often left in the dark as to what sugar is in the bottle.
Which wines are the most keto friendly?
As a general guide, using the charts above will help to determine wines with the least amount of carbs for those watching their sugar intake.
The lowest carb white wines tend to be:
- Chablis / Chardonnay
- Pinot Grigio
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Check out our range of keto friendly white wines
In terms of sparkling wine, Champagne isn’t usually very keto friendly since sugar is added to each before bottling in a process called ‘dosage.’ If you really want to drink Champagne, look for the words Extra Brut on the label or ideally any of the following; Brut Nature, Zero Dosage, Brut Zero.
As an alternative, if you’re looking for a keto friendly sparkling wine, check out our range of keto friendly sparkling wines here.
Because red wines tend to have less sugar content, there is more keto friendly red wines available than white wines, such as:
- Cabernet Franc
- Check out our range of keto friendly red wines
However, be mindful that this isn’t always the case, and some international producers will add sugar to their wines to improve the flavour. This is typically done with wines that are low in quality.
For more information on sugars in wine, read Wine Folly's comprehensive article here.
Are there any sugar free wines?
The answer depends on the definition of sugar-free. If sugar-free means not a single molecule of sugar, then no, as there’s typically always at least some tiny amount of residual sugar remaining in wine.
When it comes to wine however, a wine can be labelled sugar free if it is 99.5% sugar free, which equates to 5g sugar per litre (5g/L). A good keto wine should be sugar free as per this definition, and all our wines are <3g/L, or less than 0.5g net carbs per glass. We also put the exact residual sugar content of each wine into our tasting notes, so you can have confidence in the wine you’re drinking.
Often the sugars left over in our wines are unfermentable sugars, meaning they’re generally indigestible for us as well so they either pass through our digestive system or get taken up by bacteria in our gut.
So, can you drink wine on a keto diet?
Yes, but you must take into account the carbs the wine contains. At Feravina, we take all the hard work out of choosing keto friendly wines, and select only wines that are technically sugar free, at less than 3g/L sugar (or 0.5g per glass). We also place the exact residual sugar content of each wine into our tasting notes, so if you’re on a ketogenic diet, you can deduct that amount from your allowed carbs per day.
Each of our wines is sourced by our founder and health-conscious sommelier, Mike, so you know that each wine tastes great too.
So now that you know what some of the best keto wines options are, all that's left to do is get your Feravina wines here, pour yourself a glass and enjoy! Cheers!