The wine industry is gearing up for a fight: Wine makers have hired lobbyists to convince the FDA to change calorie labeling rules mandated by the Affordable Care Act. In November, the FDA proclaimed that chain restaurants with 20 or more locations must include calorie counts for all of their menu items. This ruling includes any beverage; alcohol is not exempt. The move surprised the industry and consumers alike: The alcohol industry has never before been required to provide nutritional information or ingredient lists.
The alcohol industry has never before been required to provide nutritional information or ingredient lists.
Wine companies that supply bottles to chains are worried that the mandates will be costly. According to the Washington Post, it costs around "$500 per wine to conduct testing for detailed calorie information." Therefore, winemakers want to make sure restaurants do not ask them "to provide exact calorie counts." Instead, they are hoping to only be required to provide an estimated range of calories "based on alcohol content." For example, wineries could tell a chain that a glass of wine with 13 percent alcohol has between 130 and 140 calories.
This isn't the only move wine makers are fighting: Wineries are also lobbying the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau "to keep the disclosure of nutritional information of wine labels voluntary." If winemakers get their way, you may never know how many calories of pinot noir you downed the other night after all.