Treasury trimming wine calories for US market

Treasury Wine Estates are aiming at the one in five Americans on a diet by re-entering the thriving low-calorie wine market in the United States.

The SMH reported they are launching three slim wine brands recommended by a celebrity nutritionist.

The makers have sourced grapes from its northern Californian vineyards to manufacture wine that has up to one-third fewer calories than normal wines.

The company’s new Skinny Vine label has seemingly sold 100,000 cases since launching in January.

 It is aiming to break into a multibillion – dollar market area characteristically made up of women who enjoy a drink but are conscious of their weight.

 Formal global wine arm of brewer Foster’s is also looking into this theme.

Skinny Vine follows the success of other low-calorie brands such as the Skinnygirl ready-to-drink range of cocktails, produced in 2009 by television reality star Bethenny Frankel. This was later sold to spirits company Beam Global for roughly $US64 million.

These wines and cocktails were made based on market research showing up to 80 per cent of women are unhappy with their physical appearance, that 20 per cent of Americans are on a diet or are monitoring calorie intake and that majority of alcohol are bought by females in America.

''We call these consumers 'calorie avoiders', aged 21 and up, female, and they are counting calories, probably currently dieting. Being attractive to the opposite sex is important to them and they try a lot of new diets,'' Treasury marketing vice-president Tom Smallhorn said.

He added the Skinny Vine wines, a chardonnay, white zinfandel and moscato, had between 7 to 9 per cent alcohol content and 86 to 95 calories per glass.

They are backed by Los Angeles nutritionist and author Christine Avanti and have a retail price of $US7 to $US10 a bottle.

Treasury created a low-calorie wine, a slim chardonnay called White Lie in 2004 through its US winemaker Beringer. But it was pulled from the market due to unsatisfactory sales.

In Australia, Lindeman’s Early Harvest launched five years ago. The range includes a rising collection of reds, whites and sparkling wines that use grapes from south-eastern Australia. The wine has 25 per cent less alcohol and calories.

It has struck a chord with an older demographic in Australia, drawing men and women who want to remain slim and do not want a hangover the next day.

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