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Companies continue to look to Provence for bankable rosé styles

Published:  08 March, 2018

The popularity of drier, paler styles of rosé show no signs of slowing as they inch further and further into the mainstream, with Blossom Hill becoming the latest company to latch onto this consumer-friendly style.

As the world’s largest rosé producing region, Provence’s reputation for dry, pale styles – the antithesis to the sweeter, fruitier rosés of the New World – has grown to be bigger than even its size.

But despite indictments from rosé enthusiasts like Liz Gabay MW on its ubiquitous nature, companies are still backing what has become the workhorse of this increasingly popular category.

Such companies include the Treasury Wine Estates (TEW) owned Blossom Hill, which – tellingly – is believed to be the number one rosé brand in the UK.

For its latest outing, TWE is releasing Blossom Hill Pale Rosé, a drier, crisper style of rosé, which is “showing strong signs of growth in a category that is having challenges at its more traditional end”, according to the company.

Citing figures from Nielsen, TWE based its NPD on trends which show that fruitier, sweeter styles have fallen 1.7% year on year, while paler, drier styles continue to enjoy attention from consumers with 13.5% YOY growth (value sales for the year to 27/1/18).

Estimates put the share of rosé sales in the UK at around 15% of total wine consumption, and there are signs that this is growing.

Retailers widely reported growing rosé sales at Christmas, including the likes of online retailer Virgin Wines which reported a 40% year-on-year sales spike in the four weeks to 22 December 2017.

And while evidence shows global consumption of rosé has been climbing steadily over the past 15 years (from 7.8% in 2002 to 9.7% in 2016, CIVP), with consumers more likely to plumb for pink outside of the summer months than previously, it is challenger categories, such as fruit cider, mixed spirits and Prosecco, which are all in growth, that have led Blossom Hill to try and strengthen its position.

“As the number one rosé brand in the UK, Blossom Hill has a duty to lead market innovation and growth,” Kirstie McCosh, marketing director, Europe at TWE said.

“Insights show that rosé has been struggling, losing market share to other drinks categories, such as sparkling wine – particularly Prosecco – as well as fruit cider. Blossom Hill is striving to be the UK’s most innovative wine brand and is perfectly placed to reclaim those shoppers lost to other categories.”

It will take something a lot more daring than Blossom Hill Pale Rosé to find a better drinking occasion for the category than summer – chief rosé quaffing season, or branch out of its inevitable target market of millennial females.

But summer and young women is exactly what TWE is going for with this new launch – citing Kantar Worldpanel, which identified a £24m growth opportunity for rosé in the Under 35s market.

And with listings confirmed in Tesco, Asda, One Stop, Nisa and pub chains Hungry Horse and O’Neills, and the Provençal mould proving bankable, TWE can’t be blamed for playing it safe.