The “better for you” wine segment
Steve’s breakdown: Sometime we just want to point our members to an emerging category. That’s what the “better for you” wine segment is. Check out the top players below.
EVERYWHERE USA: Vintners continue to capitalize on the fast-rising “better for you” wine segment, as American drinkers increasingly opt for health- and wellness-oriented products. These trending wines boast fewer calories, fewer carbohydrates, and lower alcohol, and most of the brands have zero residual sugar. But marketers also get more bang for their buck, as these healthier alternatives generally sell for above-premium prices at retail.
Until recently, Fitvine had been the most widely known brand in the segment. It launched at retail in 2017, initially at Whole Foods, and sources wines from California and Italy. Fitvine ($15 a 750-ml.) averages less than one gram of sugar per liter, or less than 0.09 grams per 5-ounce glass. The Wine Group filled a void at the $10 price point with its Cupcake Lighthearted brand, which launched in the summer of 2020—Lighthearted has 80 calories per 5-ounce serving, with 8% abv and less than one gram of sugar. The company then broadened the category’s appeal further last year with the launch of Franzia Refreshers, selling in 3-liter boxes at around $15 a box.
Constellation Brands debuted a low-calorie extension, Illuminate ($18 a 750-ml.), to New Zealand label Kim Crawford in the fall of 2020. Another up-and-coming brand is Sunny with a Chance of Flowers ($17 a 750-ml.), which Scheid Family Wines sources from its Monterey vineyards, with no added sugar, 85 calories per 5-ounce glass, and 9% abv. Sourced from Spain (white) and France (Provence rosé), another brand doing well in the low-calorie space is Avaline—from actress Cameron Diaz—an organic, vegan-friendly label ($24) which touts its use of little-to-no additives. Precept Wines joined other premium-plus players in this burgeoning category with its Cense ($15) label, which has four bottled SKUs from California and New Zealand.
2021 brought an influx of even more launches, appealing to drinkers embracing healthier lifestyles. Delicato made a splash with the debut of Bota Box Breeze in the premium box sector (over $20 a 3-liter box). Other 2021 introductions include Kendall-Jackson Lower Calorie Chardonnay ($17 a 750-ml.) from Jackson Family, Mind & Body ($13) from Trinchero, Matua Lighter ($10 and up) from Treasury Wine, and Yellow Tail Pure Bright from Deutsch, in the popular-priced segment ($7 and up).
According to Nielsen IQ, wines marketed under various wellness categories (including reduced calorie, low-carb, and sugar-free wines) rose 13.3% during the 52-week period ending February 12 to $615.1 million off-premise—even against tough comps—and more than doubled compared to two years prior. Overall, “better for you” wines nearly quadrupled in volume terms in 2021 and are expected to accelerate further and reach 3 million cases in the U.S. by year-end, according to Impact Databank.