48
Beverage Media
August 2013
Pink Tide Rising
Provence Dominates Rosé Sales in U.S. Market
BY KRISTEN BIELER
WINE
REPORT
B
y the time you read this, the U.S.
will be about halfway through
its biggest rosé season ever. Rosé
sales grew at 15 times the rate of
total table wines in the U.S. last year, and
exports of rosé from Provence jumped 41%
according to the CIVP/Provence Wine
Council. Early 2013 sales figures confirm
the trend remains robust. No surprise
there: Double-digit growth has been hap-
pening since 2003, making rosé one of the
most dynamic categories in the industry.
“Over the last three years our rosé sales
have increased by about 15%, which is a
big deal, since most of the store’s wine sales
were flat over the same period,” shares Jim
Knight, owner and import buyer at The
Wine House in Los Angeles. He chalks it
up to exposure: “More people are drinking
rosés because they are featured by-the-glass
at restaurants more often, and people are
increasingly traveling to the South of France.”
At Brooklyn’s Gnarly Vines, owner
Brian Robinson sees it firsthand:
“Provençal rosés sell best because people
simply prefer them to rosés made elsewhere.
They serve as a white wine for red wine
drinkers, and the pale salmon color is so
aesthetically pleasing.”
“Provence has been making rosé since
before the birth of Christ—Romans
planted these vines,” exclaims Michael
Romano of Romano Brands, an early rosé
evangelist. When Romano started bringing
in Chateau Minuty rosé 12 years ago, it was
a difficult climb, as Americans didn’t yet
understand or appreciate rosé. Today the
10,000 cases he gets from the winery each
year are allocated.
“The craze really popped six years ago,
starting in the Hamptons and spreading
out from there. We have pictures of Brad
Pitt and Angelina Jolie drinking Minuty,
which didn’t hurt.” (The couple has since
purchased their own rosé-focused estate
in Provence, Château Miraval.) Romano
now routinely gets calls from once unlikely
rosé markets like Tennessee and Florida.
“It’s driven by red wine drinkers who want
something chillable and white wine drink-
ers who are tired of Pinot Grigio and want
more flavor,” he observes.
Distribution & Diversity
According to a May survey of 45 import-
ers of Provence wines conducted by the
Provence Wine Council, the growth is
overwhelmingly coming from an increase
in distributors in new states. Demograph-
ics are changing, too: “During the last
eight years of we have seen category growth
switch from Baby Boomers and Genera-
tion X to Millennials who are now driving
this trend,” says a council spokesperson.
As the category has exploded, different
styles and price points have emerged, with
a number of new brands developed for the
U.S. market alone. There is Luc Belaire,
a sparkling rosé with a hint of sweetness
packaged in a stylish black bottle; the win-
ery also just released a non-sparkling, six-va-
rietal dry blend, called Cloud Chaser. Bou-
BOTTLES
TO LOOK FOR
Château Thuerry 2012
A blend of 60% Grenache,
30% Cinsault, and 10% Syrah,
this crisp, salmon-colored
wine comes from a high-
altitude, 12
th
century estate.
Domaine Sorin 2012
Luc Sorin’s rosé is an elegant
blend of 60% Mourvedre and
40% Grenache, loaded with
strawberry, herb and savory
flavors—and a steal at $12
SRP. (House of Burgundy)
La Mascaronne Quat’
Saisons 2012
This Cinsault-Grenache
blend is bright, delicate
and beautifully perfumed.
(Integrity Wines)
Domaine Houchart 2012
Owned by the Quiot Family
from Chateauneuf, this 200 acre
estate turns out a terrifically
fragrant, medium-bodied
rosé; a blend of Grenache,
Syrah, Cincsult, Cabernet and
Mourvedre. (Martin Scott, a
David Milligan Selection)
Château Beaulieu 2012
The largest estate in the
Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence
appellation, Beaulieu turns out
thoughtfully-made wines like
this fragrant rosé, redolent of
ripe plums and raspberries.
(Opici Wines)
Château Routas 2012
Cinsault, Grenache and
Syrah yield a mouthwatering,
watermelon-flavored wine that
is balanced and refreshing.
(Casa Bruno)
Photography by Francois Millo/CIVP
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