While wine contains carbs like many grape derived products, your body processes them differently than non-alcohol containing beverages. If you count carbs, you may be surprised at just how many carbs there are in a glass of wine. Dry Champagne is the lowest carb wine with just 1 gram of carbs per serving, but other dry wines are also reasonably low in carbs as well. Off-dry, semi-sweet, sweet, and sweet wines have progressively higher carb amounts and aren't compatible with a low-carb lifestyle.
Carb Chart for Dry White and Rosé Wines
Dry whites and rosés have a wider range of carbs per serving than reds, with dry Champagne your best bet at 1 gram per 5 ounce serving, followed by 3 grams of carbs for a 5 ounce serving of rosé.
The following is a short list of carbs in popular white wines, referenced from the USDA's Nutrient Database.
|Wine||Number of Ounces||Number of Carbs|
|Champagne||5 ounces||1 gram|
|Dry rosé wine||5 ounces||2.9 grams|
|Sauvignon Blanc||5 ounces||3.01 grams|
|Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris||5 ounces||3.03 grams|
|Chardonnay||5 ounces||3.18 grams|
|Gewürztraminer||5 ounces||3.8 grams|
|Chenin Blanc||5 ounces||4.9 grams|
|Dry Riesling||5 ounces||5.54 grams|
Chart of Carbs in Dry Red Wine
Dry red wines all have similar amounts of carbohydrates - ranging from about 4 grams to 5.5 grams per 5 ounce serving. The lowest carbs in red wine is non-Burgundy Pinot Noir, while the highest is Pinot Noir from Burgundy. While there are sweet red wines and red dessert wines, it isn't terribly common, but do make sure the red wine you are purchasing is dry.
Here is a list of popular dry red wines and their carbohydrate count according to the USDA.
|Wine||Number of Ounces||Number of Carbs|
|Pinot Noir||5 ounces||3.4 grams|
|Shiraz/Syrah||5 ounces||3.79 grams|
|Cabernet Sauvignon||5 ounces||3.82 grams|
|Sangiovese (Chianti)||5 ounces||3.85 grams|
|Grenache||5 ounces||4 grams|
|Petite Sirah||5 ounces||4 grams|
|Malbec||5 ounces||4.1 grams|
|Zinfandel||5 ounces||4.2 grams|
|Burgundy||5 ounces||5.46 grams|
As a general rule, the bigger bodied the wine, the higher the carb count. The lighter bodied the wine, the lower the carb count. Always check the label or call for nutritional information about any wine before consumption if you are concerned about the carb counts.
Terms That Show a Wine Is High in Carbs
If you are counting your carbs, make sure the wine you purchase is dry. Avoid words on the label such as:
- late harvest
- ice wine
All wines labeled with these terms have a high residual sugar content that pumps up the carb count of the wines. If a wine tastes naturally sweet, it is high in residual sugar and thus carbs.
Carbs in Fortified Wines
You should also avoid fortified wines, which are higher in carbs than dry reds and whites.
Understanding the Carbs in Wine
When most people think carbohydrates, they think of foods that are starchy or drinks high in sugar content. Dry wine actually contains no starch and very little residual sugar. The natural sugar that occurs in grapes is converted to alcohol during the fermentation process. There are not technically carbohydrates in wine, but what nutritionists and other scientific foodies like to call "carbohydrate equivalents." In fact, the USDA refers to the carbs found in wine as "Carbohydrate by difference." This means that carbohydrates are not detected in the food; they are what remain after fat and protein have been detected, accounted for and removed from the equation. These "carbohydrate equivalents" have to do with how the body metabolizes the drink.
- Wine contains alcohol that is processed in the liver.
- Your liver converts the alcohol into acetate, which is a type of fuel the body can use like carbohydrates, fat, or protein.
- Your body burns the acetate first, before other fuels, turning it into energy before it ever gets a chance to turn into fat.
So while you may want to count carbs with each glass of wine you drink, keep in mind that these carbohydrate equivalents, particularly in red wine, may actually lower your blood sugar, rather than sending it into a spike. People with diabetes should continue to count the carbs in the wine as normal, because consuming too much may have an adverse effect on blood sugar levels.
Best Wines for Keto Diets
If you are on a keto diet, the goal is to minimize carb intake. Many people on keto diets enjoy moderate alcohol intake including wine. Your best bet is a single serving (5 ounces) of a dry wine; Champagne, rosé, and Sauvignon Blanc are good bets for whites or rosés, while Pinot Noir (not Burgundy) is your best bet for a red.
How Wine Carbs Compare to Other Alcohols
In the case of other alcohols, it's usually the mixers that get you. Most distilled spirits have 0 carbs while liqueurs are high in carbs. Infused spirits such as flavored vodka may contain added sugar, so it's important if you are counting your carbs you do your research to see if the brand you are drinking adds sugar to their infused spirits. Many light beers are also quite low in carbs. If you are on a strict, carb-controlled diet, your best bets for lowest carb alcoholic beverages with no mixers include:
|Vodka, Tequila, Gin, Rum, Scotch||1.5 ounce||0g|
|Dry Champagne||5 ounces||1g|
|Bud Select beer||12 ounces||1.5g|
|Dry Rosé wine||5 ounces||2.4g|
|Michelob Ultra beer||12 ounces||2.6g|
|Pinot Noir||5 ounces||3.4g|
Enjoy in Moderation
While every glass of wine may contain some carbs, the jury is still out on exactly how those may affect you. Some red wines may lower your blood sugar, while drinking excessive amounts of wine may raise the blood sugar of some diabetics. If you count carbs for health reasons, remember that wine contains a moderate amount of carbs and as such, should be enjoyed in moderation. Now take a look at some of the best alcohol drinks for diabetics to see if there's a cocktail you'd like to try.