Ellona Jarvis developed the idea for Napa Hills four years ago as a health-conscious consumer who didn’t drink alcohol. She wanted a drink that delivered the health benefits of a glass of red wine without all the sugar, calories and alcohol.
After realizing that no such drink existed, she worked on her own and with market experts to create a way to infuse the healthy parts of wine into water. The team came up with VitaRes, a bioactive blend containing grape skin extract, red wine extract and the compound resveratrol, which gives red wine its heart healthy qualities.
Steve Jarvis of Napa Hills told BeverageDaily, “We are not in the wine category at all. We are an antioxidant water and we just happen to use one of the world’s strongest antioxidants, which comes from the winemaking process. We’re in the functional water business.”
Although firmly positioned as a water brand, Napa Hills has the potential to gain audience from other categories. Ellona has received a positive reaction from customers and noticed that the brand’s most regular repeat shoppers come from expectant and nursing mothers who aren’t able to indulge in a glass of wine.
Total Fat: 0g
Total Carbohydrate: 3g
Total Sugars: < 1g
Ingredients: VitaRes (natural extracts of resveratrol, red grape skins and red wine), natural flavors of cherry and pomegranate, purified water
Key highlights: non-GMO, gluten-free, natural ingredients, less than 1g sugar per bottle, 1 calorie per bottle, alcohol-free
The VitaRes blend is infused into purified water along with flavoring and contains no sugar, calories or additives. Each 16.9 oz (500ml) bottle contains the same amount of antioxidants as one standard glass of red wine. Napa Hills currently sells Cherry Rosé and Peach Grigio flavors, with plans for others in the near future.
According to Ellona, the flavor names take inspiration from different Napa Valley grape regions. It gives the beverage a connection to wine even though it does not resemble the taste of wine.
Napa Hills is a part of the growing health-conscious movement in the beverage industry that sees new low-calorie functional drinks launching constantly. According to Steve, the brand welcomes the healthy label and expects the trend to only continue.
“It’s something that we see, it’s something that we’re benefiting from. And it’s also been a focus of ours for many years to be creating products like this, that are good for you and taste delicious at the same time,” he said.
'Wine water' competitors
Similar ‘wine water’ products have come to market in the last few years, indicating a whitespace with potential for major competition. Israeli-based O.Vine and UK-based Botonique both sell wine replacement drinks sold in specialty shops or online. They are also positioned as healthy, functional beverages but do not contain the resveratrol compound.
O.Vine combines its natural spring water with an infusion of wine grape skin and seeds in flat or sparkling varieties while Botonique contains a blend of vitamins, minerals and amino acids to replace what alcohol naturally depletes.
Napa Hills is sold on the brand’s website, on Amazon.com and at several dozen Chicagoland brick-and-mortar locations like Jewel Osco, Mariano’s and Binny’s Beverage Depot. The brand is working on nationwide expansion plans for 2019.