Q: Why isn’t there a nutrition label on wine bottles?—Jessica, Paris, Texas
A: Since wine is regulated under the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), it is not subject to the same labeling laws of the FDA, which requires ingredients and nutrition information on food labels. But recent regulatory revisions may change how wineries display nutrition facts.
In 2013, a ruling by the TTB allowed alcoholic beverages to feature a "Serving Facts" label, but it hasn’t caught on the way many had hoped it would. Wine brands that have opted not to feature such labels cite the increased cost of producing them (testing for calories and carbohydrates requires expensive equipment) and the value of the very limited amount of space on the back of the bottle.
However, resistance to such labeling might be changing. According to Nancy Light, vice president of communications at California wine advocacy group the Wine Institute, the TTB recently adjusted its regulations to allow wineries more flexibility in measuring and reporting nutrition information. "Wine varies from vintage to vintage and is not a formula product," Light told Wine Spectator. "Wineries need the option of reporting nutrition information in a way that works with the practicalities, vintage variations, bottling schedules and label printing." With these modified regulations now in place, it’s likely that nutrition information will start appearing on more wine bottles in the near future.—Shawn Zylberberg