Winemakers Lobby Against Calorie Count Regulations

FDA Labelman

By the end of this year, chain restaurants with 20 locations or more will be required to list the caloric content of their menu items as part of new FDA guidelines. This includes beverages as well, which is something of a concern for winemakers. The Washington Post reports that, on behalf of WineAmerica (which represents 600 American wineries), lobbyists are making a case for printing caloric estimations instead of actual calories. It costs winemakers approximately $500 for each wine to be tested for caloric content, a prohibitive cost for smaller vintners. Lobbyists argue that caloric approximations would give the consumer the requisite information to make informed choices.

As opposed to restaurants’ food items, which are often loaded with dozens of unexpected, unpronounceable chemicals and byproducts, the ingredients contributing to wine’s calorie count is relatively unvaried. Given a specific’s wine’s alcoholic content and grape varietal, winemakers can confidently offer an estimate.

As it turns out, wine might be one of the more responsible choices in comparison to some items on chain restaurant menus. WineFolly’s “Understanding Calories in Wine” guide demonstrates that the caloric content of a 6-ounce glass of California red is equal to approximately two bites of an egg McMuffin sandwich (175 calories)—a clear example of how and why this new legislation will shed light on irresponsible food stuffs’ hidden ingredients.

Unlike that fluffy breakfast sandwich, red wine has long been correlated with healthful effects when consumed in moderation. The Washington Post published an article on December, 22 2014 citing studies supporting the evidence that moderate drinkers (despite wine’s additional calories) “seem to do the best in terms of the dreaded weight gain in middle age.” From a health standpoint, it might behoove the FDA to reduce barriers for winemakers and focus oversight on the restaurants themselves. [Washington Post] [Images: Flickr/fdaphotos]