Wine Time! Sugar Guide to Your Favorite Pour



When you’re out with your favorite gals, raising a glass to celebrate the end of a long, exhausting week, how big of a buzz kill is worrying about the calories in that chardonnay or how many carbs are in that lovely red wine?

Wine, Carbs, & Weight

With Type 2 diabetes skyrocketing worldwide, becoming both weight and carb conscious makes good sense, but does that mean putting a cork in the vino? The answer is…it depends.  

First, a little carb FYI: Carbohydrates are absorbed into the blood and raise sugar levels. Diabetes occurs in people whose systems do not produce appropriate amounts of insulin to control their blood sugar.

The good news: Wine is low-carb by nature. The fine print to be aware of: That does not absolve us from the need to put a little thought into what—and how much—we are pouring.

It’s All About Unfermented Sugar

Made from grapes, wine starts its process in a high carb state. During the fermentation stage, the yeasts eat the carbs, producing alcohol. Whatever sugars are left over make up the wine’s carb count.

What’s important to note is that not all wine carbs are created equal. A dry wine has little or no residual sugar, between 0-4 g per five-ounce serving. A sweet wine can have quite a bit, upwards of 1.5-2g per ounce. So, clearly, choosing red or white doesn’t matter as much as opting for dry over sweet. Keep in mind, those dry wine numbers pertain to a five ounce pour which may be a tad unrealistic—especially if the bar is at home and the bartender is you.

Still, when you consider the fact that diabetic diets generally restrict carb intake to 70 grams per day, a toast with your favorite dry wine could be just what the endocrinologist ordered!  

Below, see the carb counts for a few fan favorites.

Dry Reds

Carbs Per Ounce:

Pinot noir: 0.68g

Cabernet franc: 0.71g

Merlot: 0.74g
Cabernet sauvignon: 0.75g

Shiraz/syrah: 0.76g
Zinfandel: 0.84g

Dry Whites

Carbs Per Ounce:
Pinot blanc: 0.57g

Sauvignon blanc: 0.6g
Pinot grigio: 0.6g

A Splash of Seltzer with that Chardonnay?

So, what about calories and carbs in the ever-popular chardonnay? Generally speaking, a 5-ounce glass of chardonnay will add about 125 calories and 3 grams of carbs to your day. To cut the sugar content of your chard or any favorite wine even more, switch to a wine spritzer. Combining a dry wine with seltzer water in a 1:1 ratio will cut sugars in half. Enhance the flavor with another splash of fresh lemon or lime. An eight-ounce wine spritzer has even fewer carbs than a Miller Lite, one of the most carb-conscious beers.

Stick with dry reds and whites and go easy on the guacamole, and there is absolutely no reason why happy hour cannot continue to be happy!