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Best Red Wine for Diabetics

Sharon is a human resources professional who enjoys researching health related topics and sharing what she finds.

Diabetics and Wine Consumption

Type two diabetes is on the rise in North America and the Western diet is a factor.

Those who suffer with diabetes must be careful to watch what they consume and monitor their sugar intake and blood sugar levels.

However, red wine consumption has demonstrated many positive health effects. Does this mean type 2 diabetics can enjoy the occasional glass of red wine? The answer is YES!

Can Diabetics Drink Red Wine?

Red wine and diabetes? You wouldn't think that these two are a healthy combination. Think again! There is growing evidence to support that regular consumption of red wine can be a good thing for a diabetic.

Red Wine at Meal Time

Red wine is often popular to consume with meals especially in the Italian culture where it is pretty much a staple at the dinner table. My in-laws are Italian and my father-in-law makes his own wine so there is wine at dinner every day at their house. One might think that this is too much alcohol consumption but the fact is - red wine can be healthy.

Alcohol and Sugar

Alcohol in general has the reputation of being very high in sugar and therefore moderation is key. However red wines, specifically dry red wines, are very low in sugar content, and it has been discovered that red wine might actually be beneficial to those who suffer from diabetes.

Red Wine and Diabetic Health

There is some recent research that suggests drinking dry red wine in moderation could be a therapeutic supplement to diabetics who are taking medication. Further research is ongoing but a review of current literature suggests that it is definitely worth further investigation (Hausenblas, Schoulda & Smoliga, 2015).

What is Diabetes?

There are two types of Diabetes; Diabetes type 1 and type 2. Type 1 is a condition where the pancreas does not produce any insulin whereas in type 2 the pancreas still produces insulin but there is a malfunction.

This malfunction has a genetic component but the risk factors are a poor diet that includes a high intake of fat and carbohydrates combined with a sedentary lifestyle. High intake of alcohol is also a risk factor.

The body needs energy to function much like gasoline powers your car. If you don't replenish the gas in your car - you aren't going anywhere are you? The body functions in much the same way; we must fuel our bodies with the proper foods.

We produce glucose from the foods we eat and this glucose is our source of energy. In order to use it the body needs insulin. Insulin is a hormone that controls the level of glucose in your bloodstream.

In diabetes the pancreas is not able to produce enough insulin or your body is not able to use the produced insulin properly. When this occurs there is a build up of sugar in your bloodstream because it is not being used for energy.

This build up of glucose, if left unchecked, can lead to very serious health issues. Diabetes is a serious disorder and if it is not controlled properly it can lead to conditions such as heart disease, blindness, kidney and nerve damage.

Over consumption of alcohol is a risk factor, so moderation is key. However, not all alcoholic beverages are alike.

To Wine or not to Wine

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Dry Red Wine

In general, red wine has little sugar content. Dry red wines are the best choice for diabetics or anyone who is concerned about their health and sugar intake.

What Constitutes a "Dry" Wine?

Any wine that contains between 0 and 1.3 percent sugar is considered dry. You will not usually see this on the label but generally all red wines that are not considered a dessert, sweet or fruity wine have this lower level of sugar content.

A basic rule of thumb is that the higher the alcohol percentage the lower the sugar content. This is because the sugar gets converted to alcohol during fermenting. The sugar left behind after fermenting produces the sweetness in the wine.

Red Wine Consumption is Heart Healthy

Red Wine and Diabetes

What's New in Research

The healthy active agent in red wine is called resveratrol. It is a chemical found in the skins of grapes that has been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease. It is also an anti-inflammatory agent, and resveratrol has actually lowered blood glucose levels in studies with diabetic rats (Science Letter, 2008).

As previously mentioned, a recent literature review has revealed the possibility of red wine as a complementary therapy to those who are currently being treated for type 2 diabetes (Hausenblas et al, 2015).

In addition, another promising area of research has revealed that the moderate consumption of red wine throughout ones life can reduce the risk of developing diabetes. This was found to be particularly true for those who were overweight (Fagherazzi, Vilier, Lajous, Boutron-Ruault & Balkau et al., 2014)

More research in this area is continuing but this certainly is encouraging for type 2 diabetics who would like to enjoy some red wine now and again.

There are many types of red wines to choose from when you are considering your sugar intake. Everyone, not just diabetics, should care about how much sugar they are ingesting as many wines are very high in sugar. The wine types listed below are a sample of the healthier choices in wines.

Pinot Noir

A medium to light bodied wine that is becoming very popular.

Cabernet Sauvignon

One of the most popular and best selling wines in the U.S. with a full bodied taste.


A softer, fruitier wine than the Cabernet Sauvignon.


A dark fruit wine commonly referred to as "the black wine".


This wine can have many different flavours from hearty and full to delicately light.

Syrah (Shiraz)

Wonderful fruit flavours with a touch of spice.

There are many brands of red wine that can be enjoyed by diabetics and beneficial for your health. Most table wines will be okay as far as sugar content goes but taste and price is also a factor.

We still want to enjoy our red wine and not have to break the bank! Here is list of recommended brands from those who are closely watching their sugar intake:

  • Sterling Vintner's Pinot Noir
  • Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Black Opal Cabernet Merlot
  • Vin de Pays d'Oc Syrah
  • Hardy's Shiraz

Sweet and Dessert Red Wines

Diabetics Should Avoid!

Red dessert wines contain a high amount of sugar and are best avoided altogether or at least consumed infrequently. Sweet red wines can contain anywhere from 3 percent to a whopping 28 percent of residual sugars!

Below is a list of popular types of high sugar content red wines and these are best avoided by diabetics:

  • Muscat
  • Ice wine
  • Port
  • Beaujolais Nouveau
  • Brachetto
  • Lambrusco
  • Madeira
  • Sparkling wines

Diabetes and Red Wine: Resources Online

Uncork some red wine today!

Uncork some red wine today!

More Information Online: Red Wine and Diabetes

Red Wine Benefits in the News


Fagherazzi, G., Vilier, A., Lajous, M., Boutron-Ruault, M., Balkau, B., Clavel-Chapelon, F., & Bonnet, F. (2014). Wine consumption throughout life is inversely associated with type 2 diabetes risk, but only in overweight individuals: Results from a large female French cohort study. European Journal of Epidemiology, 29(11), 831-839. doi:10.1007/s10654-014-9955-7

Hausenblas, H. A., Schoulda, J. A., & Smoliga, J. M. (2014). Resveratrol treatment as an adjunct to pharmacological management in type 2 diabetes mellitus-systematic review and meta-analysis. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 59(1), 147-159. doi:10.1002/mnfr.201400173

Understanding Red Wine's Potential Benefit for Diabetes. (2008, May 13). Science Letter, 3842. Retrieved from

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2013 Sharon Bellissimo

Will You Try These Red Wines?

Sharon Bellissimo (author) from Toronto, Canada on September 19, 2020:

So glad the article helped!

Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on September 19, 2020:

Thank you for this article and the list of which wines to drink and not to drink. My husband has type 2 diabetes so this will be good news for him.

yssubramanyam from india, nellore. andhrapradesh on January 18, 2020:


PoetikalyAnointed on October 18, 2018:

Hi Sharon,

This is a wonderful Hub for the well-being of all. I don't drink but the information presented here is very useful...just in case.

Ann on December 03, 2015:

I have been trying for a long time to figure out what wines to drink that i actually might like and good for me as a diabetic. This site has given me the insite i needed. Thank you!!!!#

Sharon Bellissimo (author) from Toronto, Canada on January 02, 2015:

White wine has many of the same active ingredients as red wine but in far smaller quantities so it is not a good choice for diabetics.

Carole on December 30, 2014:

is white win good for type 2 diabetics?

Papatoo LM on December 26, 2013:

i've already have as this lens is on one of my favorite beverages & I just love it

Takkhis on December 22, 2013:

This lens is very informative. From here, today I read about what I never ever have read before! Thanks for sharing. Honestly, we drink it hardly though.

Ben Reed from Redcar on August 24, 2013:

I absolutely will have to after reading this.

Coreena Jolene on March 02, 2013:

My hubby and I love the Merlot, glad to see it on the list. Our fav brand is "Gainey". I keep an eye on good food info for diabetes, we have a lot of that in our family. I pinned your lens to my healthy food board on Pinterest. Great lens topic :)

malenk lm on February 17, 2013:

I am not really into wine but I'm sure my husband would because he loves wines.

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