As spring gradually settles in, rosé wines are returning to the limelight. Considered not that long ago as an unsophisticated wine by a majority of consumers, they have since become extremely fashionable, and have lost their seasonal pigeon-holing. The proof is in the data: between 2002 and 2018, global rosé wine consumption surged by 40%. So who drinks it? And makes it? And how is it evolving? We turn the spotlight on the ultimate on-trend colour.
- A meteoric rise in consumption
- Who are the world’s leading rosé consumers?
- How the supply side is adapting to cater to rosé
- Why is rosé so successful?
- Every culture has its shade of pink
- What are the price points?
- From rosé icons to terroir-driven offerings
A meteoric rise in consumption
According to the latest available figures published in 2020 by the World Rosé Observatory (CIVP / FranceAgriMer), global consumption of rosé has surged from 18.3 million hectolitres in 2002 to 25.6 million hectolitres in 2018. That’s an increase of 40% in 17 years! It reached record heights in 2018, with a 9% jump for the vintage on 2017. By comparison, consumption of still wine across the colour spectrum (red, white and rosé) increased by a marginal 5% over the same period.
Who are the world’s leading rosé consumers?
France is the leading consumer of rosé with 34% of global consumption. The United States is witnessing a quantum leap in rosé consumption and now accounts for 20% of worldwide volumes, followed by Germany in third place.
How the supply side is adapting to cater to rosé
The ratio of production to consumption became positive again in 2018 for the first time since 2014 – i.e. less rosé was produced than was consumed. The leading producer countries are France with 28%; the United States, 19%; Spain, 17%; Italy, 9%; and South Africa, 5%.
To sate a growing thirst for rosé, some French wine regions have switched to the colour. One example is Languedoc appellations, which in 2015 marketed 12% rosé wines, rising to 18% in 2020, an increase of 9%.
Why is rosé so successful?
At the Vinisud trade show in Montpellier in 2017, Sarah Abbott, Master Of Wine 2008, (the most prestigious diploma in the wine world) recounted: “Drinking rosé has become very fashionable in many countries. On social networks, the #drinkrosé alone has 6 million users in the USA. This media presence has linked rosé to the Mediterranean lifestyle and diet”. Another driver of the trend is that rosé is an easy-drinking, hassle-free wine for pleasure.
Every culture has its shade of pink
The French prefer lightly-coloured rosé wines, whereas the Italians and the Spanish like darker rosés. In the English-speaking world, the preference is for intermediate colours, with a pronounced pinkish hue.
What are the price points?
For export prices, premium rosé wines come mainly from France (€3.50/75cl, customs price excluding VAT). Conversely, Spain has a strong presence at entry-level (€0.75/75cl, customs prices excluding VAT). Italy, on the other hand, has witnessed a drop in rosé export volumes, but its average price has risen to €2.30/75cl (customs prices excluding VAT). This is one of rosé’s strengths – its ability to remain accessible and offer good value for money.
From rosé icons to terroir-driven offerings
Two trends are becoming established, one involving iconic rosé wines that can be enjoyed all year round, and the other, terroir-driven wines with great palate presence. A good example of the very top end of the market is Languedoc negociant Gérard Bertrand’s 2019 release of his Clos du Temple label at €190 (AOP Languedoc Cabrières). The wine cuts through rosé conventions and rightly positions itself as an iconic, timeless rosé for gourmet foods. The colour, long viewed as “an ugly little underling that gave you a headache and had to be drunk quickly, has become a beautiful, bright, light and fresh wine, with aromas of flowers and fresh fruit that can be opened without pomp and ceremony for any occasion, all year round”, as Nathalie Caumette points out. The chair of the Faugères appellation, she was recently elected chair of the new international association ‘Rosés de Terroirs’ whose members are AOC Tavel, Bandol, Côtes de Provence, Côtes de Toul, Costières de Nîmes, Faugères, Rosé-des-Riceys and Bardolino Chiaretto. ‘Rosés de Terroirs’ winegrowers embody a new era where rosé is no longer a variable for adjusting production but a wine in its own right. In fact, the 2019 vintage of these terroir-driven wines are drinking incredibly well in 2021. Spread the word.