This study evaluated the possible prebiotic effect of a moderate intake of red wine polyphenols on the modulation of the gut microbiota composition and the improvement in the risk factors for the metabolic syndrome in obese patients. Ten metabolic syndrome patients and ten healthy subjects were included in a randomized, crossover, controlled intervention study. After a washout period, the subjects consumed red wine and de-alcoholized red wine over a 30 day period for each. The dominant bacterial composition did not differ significantly between the study groups after the two red wine intake periods. In the metabolic syndrome patients, red wine polyphenols significantly increased the number of fecal bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus (intestinal barrier protectors) and butyrate-producing bacteria (Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Roseburia) at the expense of less desirable groups of bacteria such as LPS producers (Escherichia coli and Enterobacter cloacae). The changes in gut microbiota in these patients could be responsible for the improvement in the metabolic syndrome markers. Modulation of the gut microbiota by using red wine could be an effective strategy for managing metabolic diseases associated with obesity.