Weight-conscious drinkers lured with low-cal wines

Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:58am EST
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By Leslie Gevirtz

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Winemakers are luring health-conscious, weight-watching consumers to shops with low-calorie wines that are 100 calories or less per glass.

U.S. television talk show host Bethenny Frankel recently launched a line of eight wines ranging from Prosecco to a red blend under her SkinnyGirl brand. The wines are marketed as having just 100 calories for a 5-ounce (148 ml) serving and sell for $15.

She is joining other winemakers who are emphasizing the calorie count as much as the price and varietals and appealing to women, who buy 60 to 75 percent of wine, according to data from winemakers.

Treasury Wine Estates, the Australian-based company that owns Beringer, Stags' Leap and Chateau St. Jean vineyards in California, developed its Skinny Vine brand of varietal wines last year. Their Slim Chardonnay, Thin Zin and Mini Moscato have 86 to 95 calories per 5-ounce glass and sell for under $10 a bottle.

"It's real wine. The quality is there. We don't skimp on the quality - just the calories," said Nicole Carter, a spokeswoman for Treasury Wine Estates.

Most of the calories in wine come from the alcohol. The lower the alcohol content, the fewer the calories.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one 5-ounce glass of regular white wine has about 120 calories. Most still white wines have about 12 to 13.5 percent alcohol by volume (abv), while sparkling whites such as Champagne, Prosecco and Cava range from 9 to 13 percent.

Some low-calorie wines have an abv as low as 7.5 percent.   Continued...

A customer samples a glass of wine at Oinoscent wine bar in central Athens October 30, 2013. REUTERS/John Kolesidis