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Impact Databank: “Better For You” Wines On A Steep Growth Trajectory

March 1, 2022

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 zero 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, Yellow Tail Pure Bright from Deutsch, in the popular-priced segment ($7 and up) and Myx Light Chardonnay and Light Rosé ($12 a 4-pack of 250-ml. cans) from Royal Wine Corp.

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.—Juan Banaag

U.S.—Leading “Better for You” Wine Brands
(thousands of 9-liter case depletions)
Brand Company Origin 2020 2021E Percent
Fitvine Fitvine California/Italy 317 375 18%
Bota Box Breeze Delicato Family Wines California 365 +
Cupcake Lighthearted The Wine Group California 107 250 134%
Franzia Refreshers The Wine Group California 220 +
Yellow Tail Pure Bright Deutsch Family
Wine & Spirits
California 142 +
Kim Crawford Illuminate Constellation Wines New Zealand 13 102 712%
Fun Wine Fun Wine USA Multiple Origins 51 91 78%
Sunny With A Chance
Of Flowers
Scheid Family Wines California 11 58 427%
Avaline Avaline Spain/France 21 55 162%
Mind & Body Trinchero Family Estates California 5 31 535%
Matua Lighter Treasury Wine Estates New Zealand 22 +
Total Leading Brands 525 1,711 226%
Source: IMPACT DATABANK © 2022
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