Stop and Smell the Rosés: The Summer of Pink
If you haven’t gotten your orders for rosé in yet, you might be out of luck. So hot have the pink wines become in the last few years that the ordering process has become significantly competitive. This is particularly true because many producers offer limited releases, and much of it is brought to market when there is still ice on the streets. But the flip side is that many more are being sent to the US market, and the old favorites are increasing their presence as well.
Rosé wine exports from Provence (the largest exporter of pink to the US) grew 58% by volume and 74% by value in 2015, according to the French customs agency and the CIVP/Provence Wine Council. This rise marks the largest increase in Provence rosé wine exports to the US since 2001, as well as the 12th consecutive year of double-digit growth for the segment. According to Nielsen data, the overall imported rosé category grew almost as much, up more than 56% by volume and 60% by value last year. Provence rosé currently accounts for more than 40% of French rosé sold in the US, and about 30% of imported rosé overall.
Many operations have taken note of the shift to pink, increasing the number of wines carried, bumping up their order volume, ranging outside the classic rosé realm to other regions like Greece, Chile and Portugal, and figuring out how to make their limited allocations last through to the end of summer and beyond. Rosés are now in fashion for a variety of reasons: quaffability, a welcome sign of the warm weather, their easy pairing nature for light and Mediterranean cuisine, and their generally popularity with sommeliers and wine directors for food friendliness. They are also just plain trendy, and many operators report weeknight meet-ups resulting in multiple orders of bottles of rosé.
The weather, of course, is the most significant stimulant for rosé sales. The Bristol in Chicago features 7 or more sparkling rosés and 8 still varieties from France, Corsica, Italy, Sicily, Spain and Lebanon. The casual reputation of rosé makes it a good seller for light dining or bar drinking, and younger consumers are drinking more rosé for its easygoing and crowd-pleasing qualities. The wines have even started finding some wintertime success. Customers, in fact, are warming up to the idea that it doesn’t need to only be a warm weather wine, and that it does things that white wines don’t in many cases.
Being on the right side of a trend always pays off, so if there are still solid rosés available in your market, there’s no reason to hang back anymore.