Does Wine Have Carbs?
Anish Patel @ 2022-05-11 23:41:26 -0700
When you’re watching your carbs, you have to be a little more intentional about what you do when you go out. And when it’s time to open up that nice bottle of wine you’ve been saving? You may take a pause and ask yourself — are there carbohydrates in here? And if so, how many?
Here’s your answer: yes, wine does have carbs. However, the amount is very low, between 0-4 grams for a glass of dry wine. As far as most alcoholic beverages go, this makes dry wine one of the best choices you can make. But there are a few things to know.
First, there are so many different styles of wine out there and different styles yield varying levels of carbohydrates. The good news is that the wine with the lowest carb count is the easiest to find: dry wine. However, if you’re really trying to keep track of your carbohydrates, you need to have a basic understanding of which wines have the lowest carbs, and when those numbers start to climb.
Let’s take a look at where the carbohydrates in wine even come from, and how to find the lowest carb options for you.
Where do the carbs in wine come from?
A glass of dry wine has anywhere from 0 to 4 grams of carbohydrates. That’s pretty low compared to other beverages. Keep in mind that the sweeter the wine, the higher the carb count. This is because the carbs in wine come from the residual sugar in the wine.
When wine is fermented, sugar in the grapes is converted to alcohol in varying degrees. A lot of wine is “fermented dry,” which just means that all of the remaining sugar has been converted to alcohol, leaving no residual sugar in the wine. These wines taste dry; they may be fruity, but they don’t taste sweet.
Other wines are not fermented completely dry, meaning the fermentation process is halted before every last parcel of sugar is turned to alcohol. The resulting wine might be lower in alcohol, but it contains more sugar. And that means it has more carbs. You can taste the sweetness in these wines which tend to have notes of candy, honey, or sugar.
And then there are conventional, mass-produced wines. These wines often have sugar added to them to enhance the flavor. The way to avoid this is to drink natural wine, which doesn’t have to add anything to it to make it taste good.
Now that you understand the basics of wine carbohydrates, let’s compare wine to other alcoholic beverages.
Carbs In Wine Vs. Other Alcoholic Beverages
When it comes to cocktails, the carb count really depends on what the cocktail is made of. Liquor doesn’t have any carbs, but once you add mixers, fruit juice, soda, liqueurs, and syrups, you can end up with a really high carb count.
Check out this list of common beverages and their carb count:
- A glass of dry white or red wine: 0-4 grams
- A lager: 6.2 grams
- A stout: 10 grams
- A bloody mary: 10 grams
- A mimosa: 12 grams
- A margarita: 13 grams
- A whiskey and coke: 14 grams
- A glass of dessert or sweet wine: 20 grams
As you can see, the sweetness of a wine seriously changes the carbs. And so does the presence of fruit juice, as well as the style of beer.
How to find low-carb wine.
Wine can be dry as a bone or off-dry, meaning it has a touch of residual sugar. Or it can be a sweet wine, full of sugar. Here’s how to shop for wine to pick out the low-carb options.
The drier the better.
Wines that are fermented dry are the most common style of wine. So you’re in luck. White wine tends to be a touch drier than many reds, but there are still tons of options in red wine. For whites, the driest wines you can find are Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Vinho Verde, Verdejo, and Albariño.
For reds, stick to wine grown in cooler climates. In cooler climates, grapes develop lower amounts of sugar, and the wine tends to be fermented dry by tradition. Here are a few options for you:
- Pinot Noir from Bourgogne (aka Burgundy)
- Pinot Noir from Germany (called Spätburgunder)
- Cab Franc from Chinon
- Sangiovese from Chianti
- Nebbiolo from Barolo
When in doubt, just ask. Wine shop staff are typically very knowledgeable and familiar with dietary restrictions. They can help you find the driest wine that will fit your taste.
Sweet and dessert wines are a no-go.
Fortified wines like Port, or late harvest wines like Sauternes, Tokaji Aszu, and Spatlese, are going to have high levels of sugar. Late harvest wines are wines made from grapes that are left on the vine past the usual harvest date. The longer they hang on the vine, the more the sugars concentrate in the grape. This yields a delicious, sweet wine with many interesting notes.
But it also means lots of sugar and carbs.
Pay attention to the labels of sparkling wine.
Sparkling wines from different regions have varying spectrums from sweet to dry. Typically, sparkling wine will be on the drier side, but there once was a time when sweet sparkling wine was popular.
As a rule of thumb, “Brut” and “Brut Nature” will have the lowest amount of sugar. “Sec,” “Demi-sec” and “Doux” have higher levels of sugar. For the lowest carb, look for “Brut.” Again, this is incredibly common so you won’t have trouble finding it.
Go for natural wine.
What is natural wine? The term isn’t officially regulated, but it generally referred to wine that is made without anything added or taken away. Sometimes natural winemakers will intervene in small ways, but generally, these wines are made without intervention. Many natural winemakers are also organic.
Natural wines don’t have added sugar or any of the other bizarre additives that conventional wines are legally allowed to put in there without telling you, like Mega Purple. Shopping for natural wine means no undercover sugar and no extra carbs.
So how do you find natural wine? You can buy them online from companies that source them from the wineries, or you can go to your local wine shop and ask if they have a natural wine selection. These days, they’re very common since natural wine is growing in popularity among health-conscious consumers.
Pro-tip: pay attention to your eating habits when you drink wine.
Studies show that sometimes the weight gain associated with wine isn’t actually the carbs in the wine itself, but from the things you eat when your inhibitions start to lower. Alcohol can make fast food, pizza, soda, that box of cookies, and more look absolutely irresistible. And who can say no to pasta and red wine?
Simply pay attention to whether or not you’re eating carb-heavy foods when you drink or making choices that you know undermine your current health goals. Sometimes bringing awareness to this pattern is all you need to kick it. Other times you may need to pace yourself, or stock up on some healthy (but satisfying) alternatives.
Making healthier choices can feel like a buzz-kill, but thanks to the low levels of carbohydrates in wine, it really doesn’t have to be. In fact, it can be downright fun!
If you’re looking for a wine that is reliably low in carbohydrates, look no further. Get a taste of No Pasa Nada, the best rosé you’ve ever had in your life.