Behind the global success of rose wines — the key factors
Rose wine, made principally from black grapes via short maceration or saignee, has outpaced growth of total still wine sales for the past decade. OIV figures indicate that the global rose sales have increased 20% over 0.9% gain in total wine between 2002 and 2014. Rapid growth is expected to sustain in 2017 and beyond, based on the strong global demand and matching production capabilities, according to OIV and Vins de Provence. To quality the claim, one needs to review the key success factors such as rose’s versatility, approachability, production flexibility, universalization in addition to its strong seasonality, and premiumization, starting from its most successful country, France.
French consumption of rose centered traditionally in the south where 30% of global rose production and hot summers invite locals and tourists alike to drink lots of them. Rose is also widely sold in supermarkets all over France at very low unit prices of 2-5 euros as everyday drink. While French wine consumption has steadily declined, rose consumption went up 43% since 2002 and currently occupies over 30% of the wine sales. The key factor was unpretentious and casual charm of rose wine which attracted the young consumers, particularly women. They found rose as an attractive alternative to beer and cocktail. Rose based cocktails also became popular which helped entry of non-wine drinkers as well. Recent hot summers in France also helped generate large sales. As a result, French thirst for rose jumped to 8.1mhl in 2014 which was more than the domestic production capability of 7.6mhl; while France is the world’s largest rose producer and consumer, she became the world’s largest importer of rose wine.
Rose’s success resembles that of Campagne’s when one considers its strong seasonality and the following universalization of drinking occasions. As a hot summer drink, it is well established in countries such as Tunisia and Urguay where 50% of wine consumption is rose. Its pink color, associated with the color of ‘love’ has positioned itself as the Valentines Day wine in the UK when the sales peak during February according to Harpers Wine & Spirits. Recent Instagram craze over rose pictures, due to its many pretty shades, and the following active exchanges among non-wine drinkers suggest a boom from a different angles … by social media. The best example, however, of making rose to evey day drink from summer vacation memory is in the US, where off dry blush zinfandel used to be the most popular rose wine.
The quiet boom began in the Hamptons, a New Yorker’s weekend escape during summer months. New Yorkers are known to favor European wines over the domestic, given the proximity to the Continent and their pride as the bastian of sophistication. Naturally in the Hamptons, the most popular summer wine became that from Provence. But the story did not end there; as New Yorkers settled back in the city after summer, many continued to drink rose as they found it highly food friendly and versatile. Sommeliers in New York City caught up the buzz and the fad began. Another success factor was the entrance of unexpected consumers, young male population who claimed rose as men’s drink and promote such in multi-media. Those are the consumers who lifted craft beer movement in the US and by the same fashion, they promoted rose as beer of wine and called it “brose”. The New York originated dry Provence rose craze soon spread into major cities; by 2014 the US became the world’s second largest rose consumer where almost 50% drinkers are male.
The spread of dry French rose in the US helped elevate rose as the premium wine. Compared to blush Zinfandel sold around US$5-12 at the bottom shelves in supermarket, Provence rose is marketed as the prmium wine in evey super market and wine retail stores for US$15-25. Unlike France, winemakers in the US are not constrained by wine regulation and that they can produce rose from any varieties and anywhere. Savvy wineries soon caught up with the ‘dry style’ rose production of quality and are able to sell them at the middle and upper shelves and in the “featured” isles along with French rose in the national supermarkets, commanding the same price ranges. The timing also worked well as US consumers are upgrading the wine budget to the category over $10 and $20+. In the $5-9.99 category where off dry rose is sold, mass producers such as E. J. Gallo and Sutter Homes are consolidating the market share by offering dry style rose as well. The two countries who realized the rose growth, France ad the US, consume 50% of global consumption.
Another possible success factor going forward is climate change, versatility and social media. As global warming continues, consumers will more likely be drinking fresh easy wine such as rose over red or oaked white wines. Brazil and Argentina whose rose consumption is increasing can be major rose consumers. Rose’s versatility for food pairing should also help it drink at barbecue and in outdoors. As many regions may suffer from weather variation, black grapes can always be harvested early in case of cool/rainy vintage, or in hot spikes in warm regions, and made into rose. Rose can generate quick cash flows as white but may generate higher margins than white by the higher unit pricing. Social media can also elevate young consumers’ curiocity of the rose wine, whether as ‘brose’, cocktail base, or simply pretty-colored wine. Rose’s wide range of styles and price points will be a great entry for non-wine drinkers in NW countries.
Rose’s global success have many facets of factors; its versatility, production flexibility, food friendliness, freshness, wide range of price points and the pretty shades of colors. The promotion of rose was multi-faceted by Millennials, male population, social medias and by the producers who responded to the growing demand timely. It caught the great wave of premiumization in the US and expanded consuming population beyond the traditional in the global market. With positive factors in place, its popularity looks solid g