The Story Behind Cense

Think a 3 SmartPoints® value glass of wine is an impossible dream? Winemaker Haydn Mouat tells us how he did it and what else he may have in store. Cheers!
Published December 28, 2017

In 2015, Cense Cellars (a wine sales, marketing, and production company) and WW set out to create a flavorful SmartPoints®-friendly wine. The result, a co-created line of Cense Wines! Today Cense Wine is available in two flavor varietals - a crisp Sauvignon Blanc and a pale California Rosé. Both wines are only 3 SmartPoints value per 5 fl. oz serving. Winemaker Haydn Mouat explains what it took to develop the perfect wines to pair with WW's Wellness Plan.

WW: How did you get involved in winemaking?
Haydn Mouat: I got involved in wine by working a harvest at Gibbston Valley Winery in Queenstown, New Zealand and loved it. We made Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling. After working the harvest, I studied Winemaking at Lincoln University and then was able to work with some great winemakers at wineries in California, Canada and Washington. 

WW: What’s your favorite part about the job?
HM: Oh, there are so many things! It’s like cooking—I like taking raw materials, putting them together, handling them, and at the end of the process, creating a tangible thing that people can enjoy. There’s nothing like creating something with your hands. But, my favorite part is working with people who really love what they’re doing and are passionate about providing great wine. 

WW: What’s the process for creating this lower SmartPoints-value wine? How does it differ from the other wines that you make?
HM: It’s a little bit more difficult. You still have the same basic procedures: you want to find the best fruit that you can and the best-fermented wine, and then you want to put them together and do sensory analysis and taste. We leverage an innovative technology that captures the compounds that make up the flavor and aroma of a wine, holding them aside while removing excessive alcohol; this process allows us to reduce both calories and SmartPoints per serving without compromising on taste or bouquet. The difficult part is finding balance because alcohol is such a big part of the wine. It imparts a lot of flavor.

WW: How long did it take you to find that balance?
HM: A long time! We spent two years working with WW researching Cense Wine. We went back and forth, tasting, testing, and tweaking, prior to perfecting it! The first Cense Wine varietal launched was Sauvignon Blanc. It's a light, aromatic blend. And the second, the California Rosé, has floral aromas with strawberry and cherry hints. The quality of this wine is something I’m really proud of. It’s a great wine, it’s a serious wine, and I’m really excited about the relationship we have with WW.

WW: So what are your plans for the future? Can we expect more low SmartPoints-value wines?
HM: Yes! We are excited to launch our third sparkling varietal this December! 

Available at Total Wine & More and Kroger stores nationally. You can also purchase Cense Wine online via