Supported at the retail level with growing selections, floor displays, tastings, and email blasts, imported and domestic rosés are growing nationwide at high double-digit rates this year with momentum expected to continue into 2019. The burgeoning rosé segment was the major focal point of the recent Wine and Spirits Guild of America’s (WSGA) fall meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. A Nielsen presentation at the meeting revealed rosé’s dollar sales grew 53.9% nationwide for the 52 weeks ending July 14. “Rosé is on fire,” says Gary Fisch, president of WSGA, and founder and CEO of New Jersey-based Gary’s Wine & Marketplace. “We don’t see rosé slowing down anytime soon.”
French rosés, particularly from Provence, grew 36% and comprise a 46% segment share, according to Nielsen. But with domestic offerings up 90% for a 43.1% segment share, U.S. rosés, primarily those from California, appear on pace to eclipse French offerings and become the segment leader in the near future. Often produced from Grenache-based blends or Pinot Noir with sales peaking in the summer, rosé is increasingly consumed year-round, with sparkling rosés and canned wines adding growth. Fisch emphasizes the importance of retailers tasting rosé wines, noting that his team will soon begin tasting to create a rounded selection for 2019. “We pre-taste every rosé—we’re not just buying it because we bought it the year before,” he explains. “It’s too important of a category to just let it happen. A label doesn’t necessarily indicate the style it’s going to be. You have to taste.”
Gary’s Wine & Marketplace, which has five New Jersey stores, sells 150 rosé wines with a sharp focus on imports from Provence. But Fisch is evaluating and tweaking his rosé offerings to fuel more growth. He’s looking to add 10-15 domestic rosé labels to his lineup next year and to reduce imported SKUs.
Top-selling rosés at Gary’s include Whispering Angel ($18 a 750-ml.), 2017 Château Puech-Haut ($20), Côté Mas Aurore Rosé ($10 a 1-liter bottle), Miraval ($20 a 750-ml.), and 2017 Domaine de Paris ($11). “From what our sales are this year versus last year, I don’t see it leveling off,” Fisch says. “I am still banking on it growing.” Popular canned rosé wines at Gary’s include Underwood Pinot Noir Rosé ($6 a 375-ml. can), House Wine Rosé ($5), Ruza, and Chateau Maris Rosé (each $20 a 4-pack of 250-ml. cans).
Sparkling rosé wine is also growing, particularly in the colder months and the holiday season, so Fisch is planning tastings for his customers. “We like to feature these wines especially around the holidays because you’re surrounded by family and friends and they go so well with festive meals,” he says. Popular sparkling rosé offerings at Gary’s include Veuve Clicquot Rosé ($57 a 750-ml.), Lucien Albrecht Crémant Brut Rosé ($16), Cavicchioli Semi Secco Rosé ($12), and 2016 Raventos I Blanc de Nit Rosé ($20).