Picking a Wine on a Keto Diet
For those who adopt a ketogenic diet, carb avoidance plays an essential role in their pursuit of ketosis -- a metabolic state where the body can burn fat instead of carbohydrates for energy.
The path toward this goal often involves removing many popular foods and beverages from one’s diet, like grains, juices, potato chips and even some fruits and veggies.
Thankfully for keto lovers of vino, many famous wines don’t fall into this category:
From exciting, complex reds to bright, refreshing whites, there’s a wide range of delicious, low-carb varietals and blends to satisfy even the most ardent keto adopter.
For essential information on identifying carbs in wine and finding the best vino for your lifestyle, read on for our Wine Insiders Guide to Wine and the Keto Diet:
Keto and Wine Basics
If you’re new to keto or pondering a switch to this diet, let’s quickly break down its basic tenets:
In simple terms, a ketogenic meal plan emphasizes healthy fats and solid proteins in lieu of excessive carbohydrates. According to its supporters in the general public and scientific community, this helps the body energize itself while burning fat.
To healthily reach this goal, keto adopters must find balance among the non-keto foods/beverages they avoid, the healthy, sustainable alternatives they consume and the keto-friendly options that fall into neither of these designations.
It is in this third category that we find many wines:
Keto-friendly wines (which we detail below) are neither loaded with carbs nor a healthy substitute for any beverage removed in the pursuit of ketosis.
Just like any wine lover, keto adopters should enjoy wine in moderation and find the varietals and blends that best fit their palate and dietary needs.
How to Spot Keto-Friendly Wines
Before we get into specific grapes and bottles, let’s go through some quick tips and tricks to help you identify keto-friendly wines:
Look for Dry Wines
When a wine is “dry,” it contains marginal levels of residual sugars (i.e., carbohydrates).
Ideally, these lower sugar levels will leave dry wines between <1 and 4 grams of carbs per serving.
While there is a large share of sweet wines on the market, there are plentiful, delicious dry wines available for your enjoyment -- particularly from Old World, European countries.
Stick to Wines with Lower Alcohol Levels
Though it’s a generalization, most keto wine drinkers recommend sticking to varietals and blends with an alcohol by volume (ABV) level below 13.5%.
Vino at this level typically falls between the desired <1 to 4 grams range, making it easier for you to enjoy your bottle guilt-free.
Learn to Read A Wine’s Tech Sheet
For detailed information on the nutrition profile of a given wine, there’s no better place to start than its “tech sheet.”
A tech sheet offers you an extensive review of a wine’s essential characteristics to help you best identify whether it fits the needs of your ketogenic diet.
Wines to Try on A Keto Diet
Now that you can quickly identify carbs in red and white wines, it’s time to enjoy a few delicious glasses of vino.
Without further adieu, let’s dive into some keto-friendly red wines and keto-friendly white wines that pack on the flavor and personality without excess carbs:
Pinot Noir is a light to medium-bodied red wine that mixes fruity flavors of cranberries, cherries and raspberries with hints of sweetness and a pleasant earthiness.
In a typical serving (5 fluid ounces) of this red, you’ll find around 3.5 grams of carbs.
Merlot is a medium-bodied wine that offers a medley of delicious red and black fruit flavors, hints of gentle spice and moderate tannins and acidity.
If you enjoy a glass of this red, expect around 3.7 grams of carbs per serving.
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world’s most celebrated wines, and for good reason.
A glass of this dry red features a complex mix of black fruit flavors like plum, black cherry and blackberry, prominent minerality and earthy overtones with around 3.8 grams of carbs per serving.
Pinot Grigio is a light-bodied wine with fruity hints of lime, lemon and apple that perfectly complement its high acidity, hints of earthiness and floral aromas for a zesty drinking experience.
In a typical serving of this classic white, expect around 3 grams of carbs.
Chardonnay is a medium-bodied, dry wine offering crisp, fruity flavors of pear, apple, and pineapple. It can feature a wide range of textures, aromas, and secondary flavors (depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made).
In your average serving of this versatile white, you’ll find around 3.2 grams of carbs.
Wines to Avoid on A Keto Diet
Now that you have plenty of delicious, keto-friendly vino to choose from, let’s break down some wines that have no place in a ketogenic diet:
Port is a fortified dessert wine internationally recognized for its trademark sweetness.
Unfortunately, this Old World vino staple is loaded with carbs, often packing as many as 15 grams into a single glass.
If you’re looking for a sumptuous taste of keto-friendly, European wine, this is certainly one to avoid.
Sherry is another fortified dessert wine with notably high levels of sugar and alcohol.
Though its rich history and flavors garner it praise and attention, its key characteristics make it unsuitable for the ketogenic diet:
A typical serving of Sherry offers around 12 grams of carbs and an ABV level between 16-18%.
Moscato is a sweet and fruity Italian wine found in both still and sparkling styles.
While this wine has many fans, it’s not compatible with the ketogenic diet.
In a typical serving of uber sugary Moscato, you’re likely to find around 11 grams of carbs.
Wine Insiders: Your Home for Keto-Friendly Wines
Now that you know more about drinking wine on the keto diet, it’s time to browse Wine Insiders’ diverse vino selection for your favorite keto-friendly wines:
Whether you’re looking for a crisp, delicious white to pair with your yummy, low-carb lunch or a daring, flavorful red to complement your protein-rich dinner, we have the varietals and blends to help you confidently meet your dietary needs.
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