'Better for you' - the new category for wine

US researchers have discovered that age and sex drives wine drinkers' attitudes towards how grapes are grown and that a surprising number of professionals believe calories and carbohydrates to be important too.


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Healthy wine
Healthy wine


  • 'Better for you' is now a category
  • Organic and 'better for you' wines are of far greater interest to younger consumers
  • Carbohydrates, calories and sugar are now relevant factors for US professionals when looking at 'better for you' wines


The expression ‘better for you’ wines is not one with which most people are familiar. Traditionally, there have been organic and biodynamic wines and what became known as ‘conventional ones. Then came natural and zero-sulphor wines, followed, in the US, by the new category of ‘clean’ wines.

Now, however, the US-based research organisation, Wine Opinions, has conducted a survey of 1,500 wine drinkers in which ‘better for you’ was included alongside sustainability, low alcohol, low carbs, sugar and calories among the optional answers.  The results revealed some striking differences between the attitudes of wine drinkers aged over 40 and their younger counterparts. Across the respondents as a whole, 9% said they would buy organic wine more often in 2022, compared to 5% who said ‘better for you’ and 3% who ticked ‘canned wine’.

Younger and female consumers want 'better for you' wines

When the researchers broke the answers down by age and sex, they discovered that the people wanting ‘better for you’ wines were predominantly young and female. This applied to only 3% of the older cohort, compared to 17% of their juniors. Women were four times likelier than men to favour ‘healthier’ wines: 8% versus 2%.

The split covering wines made from organically grown grapes was very similar. Only 6% of the over-40s said they’ll be buying more of these, against over one in five - 21% - of the under-40s.

Opportunity for 'keto' wines?

When the same researchers asked members of the US trade to rank ‘better for you’ qualities, organic and sustainable led the pack with 59% and 56% respectively think these to be somewhat or very important. Low sugar came next with 33%, followed by low alcohol (30%), calories (24%) and carbohydrates (20%). The fact that the carbohydrates in wine all come from sugar, while the calories result from a combination of sugar and alcohol simply adds to the challenge of making sense of these findings.

Non-US wine professionals may not be surprised by the figures for organic and sustainable, but even in North America,  how many will have expected between one in four or five members of the trade to be taking carbohydrates and calories this seriously? And how many will give this trend some thought when the discussion turns to widely demonized 'clean wines' and the likely imposition of ingredient listing?

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