Sip Right: Choosing the Healthiest Wine for You

Sip Right: Choosing the Healthiest Wine for You

If you’re a fan of sipping on a cold glass of rosé on a hot summer day,or warming up by a fire with a bold, spicy Zinfandel, you know that not all wines are created equal. Some present vibrant, robust flavors, while others come with subtle, delicate undertones. But beyond the taste and aroma, there lies the aspect of health. 

Wines don’t just have different tasting notes; they also come with different nutrient profiles. This can involve everything from tannin and antioxidants to calories and more. 

This guide dives into some of the healthiest wines out there and which styles you might want to look into. Plus, we’ll talk about some of the health impacts of drinking wine in general. Pour yourself a glass of your favorite red or white wine, snuggle up with your pooch, and let’s dive in.

Is Wine Good for You?

Let’s start with the basics – is wine actually good for you?

Numerous studies suggest that moderate consumption of wine, particularly red wine, can be beneficial to our heart. The antioxidants found in wine, especially the polyphenols resveratrol, flavonoids, and quercetin, can help protect the lining of our heart's blood vessels.

For instance, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon are both packed full of these polyphenols, which work to keep our hearts pumping as we throw a ball to our furry friend at the park. 

Another surprising benefit of wine is its effect on mental health. Savoring a glass of rich Chardonnay after a long day doesn’t just calm your nerves but can also potentially ward off certain mental health issues in the long run. Moderate consumption may be associated, in some studies, with a lower risk of depression.

Just note the operative word here – moderation. While these benefits are robust and enticing, overconsumption can lead to an array of health issues, including addiction. Still, when enjoyed responsibly, wine can be not only tasty but also may have some positive health impacts.

What Type of Wine is Healthiest?

How healthy a wine is can vary depending on the type, depending on whether you’re sipping on red, white, rosé, or orange. Plus, the process that the wine undergoes before it reaches your glass also plays a role. 

Let’s break down each of these styles of wine and what their nutritional profile is. 

Red Wine

Typically known for its robust flavors, red wine is fermented with the grape skins and seeds, and these are teeming with antioxidants like resveratrol, flavonoids and tannins. These antioxidants can do wonders for heart health, reduce inflammation, and even have anti-cancer properties.

White Wine

Despite its bad rap for having fewer antioxidants, which is the case because it’s fermented without the grape skins, whites have their own redeeming qualities.  Generally lower in calories and alcohol, you'll find that a glass of Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc can be a lighter, refreshing companion for a relaxed evening.


Rosé’s antioxidant content is lower than that of red wine, as it's made with a shorter "grape-skin contact" time. However, it does have more fermentation time with grape skins than white wines, so you’ll still get some of those tannins and antioxidants.

Orange Wine

Known for its unique amber hue, orange wine is actually white wine produced like a red, with extended grape skin contact. This process gives it a superior antioxidant content similar to red wine.

What Are the Risks of Drinking Wine?

Although wine can be fine for your health in moderation, it's important to understand the risks associated with overindulgence. As responsible pet parents and wine enthusiasts, we owe it to ourselves and our furry companions to stay informed about what we consume.

Although moderate wine consumption can offer health benefits, excessive intake can have detrimental effects. Wine is an alcoholic beverage, and alcohol in large amounts can lead to serious health problems. The potential downsides of overindulging in your favorite wine include:

  • Alcohol Dependency and Addiction: Wine, like any alcoholic beverage, can be habit-forming. Excessive consumption can lead to Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use.
  • Liver Disease: While wine may be good for the heart in moderation, excessive amounts can damage the liver. Overconsumption can lead to alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and fibrosis of the liver.
  • Increased Cancer Risk: Numerous studies have linked heavy alcohol consumption to an increased risk of various cancers, including breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, and liver cancer. Alcohol is a known carcinogen, and its toxic byproducts can damage DNA and proteins, leading to harmful mutations.

However, a glass of wine or two a day isn’t going to cause these issues. So, feel free to treat yourself to a glass of Rosé when you’re dealing out treats to your pooch.

What is the Recommended Daily Wine Intake?

Health organizations have established guidelines for moderate wine consumption. For most adults, this means up to one 5-ounce (148 ml) glass of wine per day for women and up to two glasses per day for men. While this may seem a bit less than a typical restaurant pour, it's enough to savor the flavors and potential health benefits of wine.

However, these recommendations are not one-size-fits-all. Some individuals may need to drink less or even abstain from alcohol entirely due to personal or health reasons. Pregnant women, people with certain medical conditions, or those taking specific medications should always consult with their doctor about alcohol consumption.

The Least Healthy Wines to Avoid

Navigating the vast world of wine can be overwhelming. With so many options available, it's easy to feel lost. But remember, not all wines are the same. Some offer potential health benefits, while others have higher sugar and alcohol content, which can be less healthy if over-consumed.

One concern is sugar, and certain wines can pack a major punch if you’re not careful. A small serving of Port, for instance, can contain nearly 10 grams of sugar, adding to your daily calorie intake quickly. Sauternes, known for its complex honeyed flavors, also boasts a high sugar content, with around 13 grams per glass. Then there are ice wines, made from frozen grapes, which offer intense sweetness but also deliver around 18 grams of sugar per serving.

While enjoying these sweeter wines in moderation is perfectly fine, it's important to be aware of their high sugar content and choose healthier wine options more often. Think of these sweeter wines as special occasion indulgences, and prioritize healthier options for your regular enjoyment.

Healthiest Wine Styles to Buy & Why?

The healthiest wines are typically lower in sugar and higher in antioxidants, providing potential health benefits when consumed in moderation. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a couple of options: 

  • Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir is a popular choice for its captivating aromas and silky texture. It's also a good source of resveratrol, an antioxidant linked to heart health. With fewer tannins than bolder reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir is a smoother option.
  • Dry White Wines: Dry white wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Albariño are excellent choices for those who prefer a lighter option. They typically have lower sugar content than sweeter whites like Riesling or Moscato. While not as high in antioxidants as red wines, they offer a crisp and refreshing experience, especially during warmer months.
  • Orange Wine: Orange wine, made by leaving grape skins in contact with the juice, offers a middle ground between white and red wines. It has more body and antioxidants than white wine, but it's lighter than red, making it a versatile option.
  • Organic Wines: Organic wines are produced using sustainable farming methods, free from synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. While not necessarily healthier in terms of nutritional content, they offer peace of mind knowing you're supporting environmentally responsible practices.

A balanced lifestyle includes enjoying your favorite wines responsibly, alongside quality time with your furry friend. So savor each sip as you cherish every wag of your dog's tail and every joyful moment together. Cheers to finding the healthiest wine that suits your taste and lifestyle.

Treat Yourself to a Healthy Glass of Wine

Remember, the healthiest wines are those enjoyed in moderation. For women, that's up to one glass per day, and for men, up to two. Be sure to incorporate alcohol-free days into your routine as well.

When selecting your next bottle, if it’s health you’ve got in mind, steer clear of overly sweet wines like Port, Ice Wine, or some Sauternes. Instead, explore the world of dry whites, such as Albariño, Viognier, or Vermentino, which offer lower sugar content and refreshing flavors. For red wine lovers, consider options like Cabernet Franc or Gamay, known for their taste and potential health benefits.

Whichever wine you choose, one great way to enjoy a glass in the evening is snuggled up alongside your pup. Celebrate these shared moments with your fur baby with a subscription from Wags and Wine. We send curated boxes of wine and dog treats to your house each month, hooking you up with the perfect cozy bonding experience. Subscribe today to get started and treat yourself and your animal companion!