California Cellars making a low-cal,low-alcohol wine

June 12, 1991|By San Francisco Chronicle

SAN FRANCISCO -- Taylor California Cellars is introducing what it describes as the nation's first diet wine, a low-calorie, low-alcohol Chablis aimed at winning over consumers who don't currently drink wine.

The Monterey County winery says its new Chablis has 38 calories per 3.4-ounce glass, or about half the calories of a typical glass of white wine. The wine has 3.4 percent alcohol, compared with the 11 percent alcoholic content of most white wines.

The wine was introduced into the Maryland market nearly eight weeks ago, said John Bengivenni, Taylor's Eastern region vice president. Bottles have been sold to more than 500 retailers statewide, he added.

The new product is far lighter than other beverages vintners offer. Following the lead of those on the light beer bandwagon, several big wine marketers including Taylor, Paul Masson and Almaden in the past decade introduced "lite" or "soft" wines. These had fewer calories and 7 percent to 8 percent alcohol content.

Most consumers turned up their noses at this variety of wines because of the watery taste, said Eileen Fredrikson of the wine-industry consulting firm Gomberg, Fredrikson.

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