Heidi Scheid enjoys a glass of wine every night. "Wine is just a part of everyday living, the perfect way to segue from a busy schedule to a relaxed evening," says Scheid, who is the executive vice president of Scheid Family Wines in Monterey, Calif. "But I also like to get up early, exercise and get a lot accomplished." For her, drinking a few glasses of wine at night isn't conducive to waking up at the crack of dawn the next day, and limiting herself to a single glass of wine makes her feel deprived.
Scheid created the brand Sunny with a Chance of Flowers, joining the growing ranks of brands marketing themselves as "Better for You" (BFY). There's no legal or agreed-upon definition of wines in this category, but they’re generally lower in alcohol, sugar and calories and and stress sustainability and/or transparency in ingredient labeling. In the case of Sunny with a Chance of Flowers, the wine is marketed as sustainably grown, with zero added sugar, 85 calories per 5-ounce glass and 9 percent alcohol.
What defines these wines as BFY is their marketing. They’re not dramatically different from many wines. Most table wines are between 11 to 14 percent alcohol and have 120 to 130 calories per glass, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And, while many BFY brands proudly state they have no added sugar, it's actually illegal to add sugar into table wines in some winegrowing regions, including California.
Low-calorie wines have historically been marketed toward women and focused on body image, but the current BFY wines have a different vibe: They’re about offering healthier alternatives. "I think wine as a category just hasn't been that interested in meeting consumers where they are," says Scheid.
She adds that other products have brands that are marketed with a "better for you" vibe. Everything from detergent to yogurt have offerings that suggest they are a healthier option. Other beverages, including beer and spirits, are moving into low- and no-calorie options. Why not wine?