French Rosé Rebounds in the U.S.

After three years of annual declines of rosé wine shipments from Provence, 2022 exports to the United States rose 4% to 1.9 million 9-liter cases, according to Impact Databank. Import volume is still below pre-pandemic levels, but Provence rosé’s shipment value is higher than in 2019, up to a new all-time high of €143.4 million ($151.1 million). French rosé remains one of the few bright spots in an otherwise sluggish U.S. wine market.

While rosé’s continued popularity can be credited primarily to Provence, brands from elsewhere are making inroads; some are doing so by emulating their Provençal counterparts, while others are capitalizing on varietals and styles different from those traditionally championed by the French. Aside from Provence, other areas which registered rosé wine growth in 2022 include Beaujolais (doubling its import value last year), Rosé of Cabernet d’Anjou from the Loire Valley (+5%) and French rosé not from a specific appellation or from a specific grape (+35%).

The top five French rosé brands combined for solid 5% growth in 2022, according to Impact Databank. Aside from the largest labels, impressive gains were also achieved by Diving into Hampton Water—made in partnership with Gérard Bertrand—which grew over 50% last year, and 90+ Cellars (+11.5%) from Latitude Beverages. Other double-digit gainers in French rosé last year included Maison No. 9 from E.&J. Gallo (+10%) and The Pale by Sacha Lichine from Shaw-Ross International (+13%).

Some rosé labels from outside France are also making headway in the U.S. market: Chile’s Natura Rosé (+18%) from Banfi Vintners, and from California, Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Rosé (+15%) from Constellation Brands, and up-and-coming brand Angels & Cowboys (+51%) from Share a Splash Wine Co.

Top Five French Rosé Brands in the U.S.
(thousands of 9-liter case depletions)
1Whispering AngelMoët Hennessy USA5655711.1%
2La Vieille Ferme2Vineyard Brands3974144.3%
3Gérard BertrandGérard Bertrand USA34539013.0%
4MiravalVineyard Brands1581643.8%
5The Beach
by Whispering Angel
Moët Hennessy USA1501628.0%
Total Top Five31,6161,7015.3%

Source: Impact Databank

Pays d’Oc Hosts the 2023 Rosé Wine Session of Concours Mondial de Bruxelles

The 2023 Rosé Wine Session of Concours Mondial de Bruxelles is due to take place in Montpellier, in the heart of Pays d’Oc.  This year there will be over 50 international judges who will get the opportunity to discover the region’s incredible range of wines, from 8 to 10 March 2023.

For the past 30 years, Pays d’Oc winegrowers have been instrumental in the success of varietal wines and the reputation of this Protected Geographical Indication. To express their creative spirit, they can draw on a vast array of 58 grape varieties and 120,000 hectares of vineyards set between the sea and the mountains, soaking up the multiple influences of a temperate Mediterranean climate. A significant 30% of Pays d’Oc production is now rosé, equating to nearly 300 million bottles of wine annually. This is France’s leading IGP rosé producer region, focusing primarily on the Grenache noir, Cinsault and Syrah grape varieties.

The Pays d’Oc wine region embraces four departments in Languedoc-Roussillon which is part of the broader Occitanie region: Pyrénées-Orientales, Aude, Hérault, Gard and six localities in southern Lozère. Forming an arch along the Mediterranean, it stretches from the Spanish border to the Rhone delta. Its 120,000 hectares of vineyards are home to myriad landscapes and contrasting weather patterns. The land is shaped in terraces facing the Mediterranean and combines mountains, high-level plateaux, mountain foothills, mid-level plateaux and coastal plains. The climate in Pays d’Oc is Mediterranean, with Atlantic influences to the West and continental influences to the East. Four prevailing winds sweep across the region – the Mistral, Tramontane, Marin and Autan. These weather conditions ensure the vines stay healthy and the fruit ripens naturally. A mosaic of soils – clay-limestone, limestone, gneiss, schist and gravel at the foot of the hills – instils Pays d’Oc wines with their inimitable character.

Varietal Wines

92% of the IGP Pays d’Oc range of wines are single varietals, which means they come from just one grape variety. Varietal wine is the cornerstone of the designation and production specifications feature a whopping 58 different grapes to choose from. The range embraces both world famous ‘star’ grapes like Merlot, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Viognier, but also lesser known varieties, some of which have a distinct Mediterranean accent, like Grenache, Rolle, Syrah and Carignan. This extensive array of varieties promotes an endless range of aromatic characters. In terms of output, IGP Pays d’Oc production volumes are consistent from year to year, with each vintage producing between 5.5 and 6 million hectolitres of wine across all three colours.

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2023 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles [Rosé Wine Session] Montpellier

I’m thrilled to be participating in as a judge in the upcoming Concours Mondial de Bruxelles [Rosé Wine Session] in Montpellier, France!

In 2022, over 1,200 wines from 23 countries were entered in the rosé-only session designed for still, sparkling, semi-sparkling and fortified rosé wines.

I’m looking forward to this year’s entries!

Pays d’Oc is the official host of the 2023 Rosé Wine Session.

For 30 years, Pays d’Oc winegrowers have helped ensure the success of varietal wines and awareness of this Protected Geographical Indication, championing its ethics and values. Their creative mindset is expressed through 58 different grape varieties and 120,000 hectares of vineyards set between the mountains and the sea which soak in the many influences of the temperate Mediterranean climate. From the Camargue to the Pyrenees, the sun-drenched wine routes that were once trodden by the Greeks and the Romans 26 centuries ago, are now home to 20,000 Pays d’Oc winegrowers, who farm both independently and as part of co-operatives. With annual production of over 2 million hectolitres of rosé wines, IGP Pays d’Oc is France’s leading GI producer region of rosé.

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Wine Review: Delaire Graff – Cabernet Franc Rosé 2021

I purchased this wine at Delaire Graff  Wine Estate (South Africa) a few months ago and decided to save it for a special occasion to share with family and friends, and Christmas Day is the day!  I was also told that this is a staff favorite.

This is a wine that feels like a special occasion once I opened it and had the first aromas.  The perfect indulgence was tasting it with Delaire Graff 60% chocolate – heaven!

*2021 Delaire Graff, Cabernet Franc Rosé

Winery:     Delaire Graff

Grapes:    Cabernet Franc

Region:     South Africa / Stellenbosch

Alcohol:    13%

*According to Vivino this wine is top 2% of all wines.

Tasting Notes

Very aromatic pink salmon in colour, with a complex nose of fresh strawberries, red plums and floral notes; this character is maintained on the palate with some cassis and cotton candy through to a spicy finish.


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Interview: Elizabeth Gabay – “Rosé has the potential to be the most exciting wine category around”

Elizabeth Gabay is a Master of Wine and the world’s foremost rosé expert. She is the author of ‘Rosé: Understanding the Pink Wine Revolution’ (2018), the ‘Buyers Guide to the Rosés of Southern France’ (2021),and was recently on the panel of the Rosé Wine Session, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles.

When did you discover your passion for rosé and what fascinates you about it?

EG: Quite late. I was turned off by the marketing of the lifestyle image, swimming pool wine. Around 2015, I started to taste more interesting rosés – but still only from Provence. Once I started researching the rosé book in late 2016, I just discovered more and more. Rosé has the potential to be the most exciting wine category around.

What do rosé wines owe their rising popularity to?

EG: This is the multi-million-dollar question. Global warming, hotter summers. Young Millennial market looking for easy, fun, glamour drinks. The rise in quality. Excellent marketing campaign by Provence for the past 25 years.

What makes rosé wine so appealing to Millennials?

EG: Rose initially sold itself as a simple fun wine which did not need in-depth wine knowledge, vintage charts or a big budget. Marketing pushed the lifestyle image. 2010 and the rise of Instagram fed into this marketing.

Are rosé wines still more of a female drink?

EG: In many places, but not universally.

Is rosé a “summer wine”?

EG: No, it stopped being just a summer wine a while back. From easter to autumn…. The season is long and there are weightier rosés good throughout winter.

In terms of origin and style, what are the most sought-after rosés today?

EG: Provence still remains the most sought-after origin with ‘Provence-style’ being popular, although whether the consumer always knows what a Provence-style is other than being pale, is debatable. There are also very popular rosés in more local markets.

Currently, which are the most relevant rosé categories?

EG: I think the style is becoming as diverse as red and white. Sparkling is a massively growing sector, fresh dry rosé is a classic, natural ‘funky’ rosé is developing a small hipster market and I would love to see sweet pinks become more popular.

How do you see the future of rosé?

EG: I would like to see the wine trade not ashamed of rosé, for producers and the wine trade to recognize the full diversity of styles, for restaurant wine lists to offer as many different rosés as red and white wines. There is still a long way to go to educate the market.

Which are the rosé market trends to watch in 2022?

EG: Growth in premium and ultra-premium rosés and growth in regional identity.

Source:   Concours Mondial Bruxelles

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