September 9, 2017 – If not wearing white after Labor Day is lore (and semi-law) where you live, where does that leave drinking rosé? After all rosé is summer’s sip and never more so than for the summer of 2017.
According to Wine Market Council, Nielsen data show that sales dollars for rosé wine increased by 57 percent in the 12 months ending in June 2017. That is a stunning amount especially considering the entire wine category grew at three percent. Wine Market Council has just concluded an in-depth look at the consumer market for rosé and among the trends uncovered was that 60 percent of the 838 U.S. adults participating in the study said they drink rosé consistently throughout the year. Rosé is particularly popular with women but men drink it too. It cuts across all age groups but is especially popular with millennials, our favorite group to decipher. If further confirmation is needed, online marketer Wine Access says that in 2015, one out of every 510 bottles sold on Wine Access was rosé. In 2017, it is now one out of every 36 bottles. Amazing. And just where is all this lovely pink stuff being consumed? Keep reading and you’ll find out. It’s not where you think.
So if rosé is such a year-round staple among a good portion of steady wine drinkers, why are we seeing so many rants and cranky comments about its popularity this summer? There’s something about rosé that seems to stir a frenzy of hysteria and resentment among some wine critics. One 2,000-word article was admittedly very well written and quite amusing, but it was still a rant and it gets exhausting after a while. I don’t recall ever seeing insults hurled at consumers who discovered that merlot was a softer red wine more pleasing on their palate than a big, tannic cabernet. The only thing that comes close is the wine industry’s snotty disdain for drinkers of white zinfandel, especially when paired with steak.
Sure, rosé has taken on fad proportions this year and like all fads, it will eventually simmer down to mainstream. One writer opined that rosé is a state of mind. That’s probably true. It comes sweet or very dry, sometimes it fizzes, it always looks pretty and it is generally low alcohol. In hot weather, who wants to turn all red and blotchy in the sun with a 14 percent or higher red wine? Having a glass of rosé on a warm summer evening can engender a feeling of well-being and relaxation. Perhaps it is the pretty color or maybe it feels uncomplicated and easy going. There’s plenty of swill being sold but if someone enjoys it, can afford it, and feels good sipping it, then let’s leave them alone and trust they will eventually trade up as have all the Mateus and Lancer’s drinkers from decades ago.
There’s plenty to learn about rosé, which dates back to the Greeks and Romans. It is worth exploring because it is more than a fad and wonderful examples come from areas as disparate as Austria and Lebanon and everywhere in between. It goes well with summer fare and can be truly memorable.
And where is all this pink wine being consumed? California? California is definitely the place for anything “state of mind”. How about New York? After all, it was the beautiful people crowd of the Hamptons that is credited with the whole rosé thing when they drank so much “Whispering Angel” it caused a shortage a year ago. No, it is neither. According to Jeff Clabaugh writing for WTOP, “D.C. consumers drink more rosé per capita than anywhere else in the country, consuming eight times more rosé than the state of California.” Now that news is enough to make me want to rant.