Barrel to Bottle: Lo-Cal Wines

The Wellness Movement has blown up over the last year and a half.  Gabriel Z, wine manager at Lincoln Park, joins Alicia, Pat and Chris for a "run" through four examples of "better for you" wines on our shelves. This is just the kind of topic Pat can get behind, the light beer episode of wine podcasts. But he still remains skeptical of the entire category, because alcohol is calories. Is this all just marketing BS or is there more to it? What's going on to make these wines low calorie?

We start soft this week with the Kim Crawford Illuminate. Our resident scientist, Chris, explains the Spinning Cone process to reduce alcohol. By doing this in a vacuum, they're able to lower the boiling point of the liquid so it will evaporate more easily. Illuminate is 70 calories per glass, so it's definitely a porch pounder

The second wine today is Kendall-Jackson's Avant Chardonnay. Like session beer, there are no regulations about what lo-cal, low sugar or low alcohol means. Unlike Illuminate, Avant is made with a combination of underripe and fully ripe grapes; less sugar means lower alcohol in the finished product. Chris did some calculating and digging and determined that they also use a Spinning Cone in their process.

Cupcake's LightHearted Rosé is the third wine today. They are right behind Fit Vine in sales, at 80 calories per glass. Chris can't understand who goes into a cupcake shop to buy the sugar free ones. Cupcake's Light Hearted is marketed not against other lo-cal wines, but actually the hard seltzers. It is bright, crisp and lean, but Pat thinks it's just water lying about being wine. 

The final wine today is FitVine Cabernet Sauvignon. At 14.1% alcohol, how can it possibly be light? MARKETING! Their labels all feature active people and the wine is gluten free! Chris appreciates the transparency in this wine. There are no requirements about having ingredients on wine bottles, but Fit Vine does include them on their labels. But it's not really a lo-cal wine. Pat is not a fan. 

In the listener Q&A segment, listener Matthew has a question about tequila. What can Binny's do to direct people to higher quality tequilas? How can Binny's get customers past concerns about budget constraints and myths from their college years? If you have a question for the Barrel to Bottle Crew, email us at, or reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. If we answer your question, you'll win a $20 Binny's gift card. 

Drink along at home with the following wines:

If you have a question for the Barrel to Bottle Crew, email us at, or reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. If we answer your question during a podcast, you’ll get a $20 Binny’s Gift Card!

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