The Crush - February 2019 - 1
Volume 46 Issue 2 February 2019
[ FEATURE STORY - UNIFIED WINE & GRAPE SYMPOSIUM ]
Rise of Rosé Offers Opportunities and Challenges
MANY VARIETY OPTIONS, SALES GROWTH AT ALL PRICE POINTS
By Ted Rieger
The rosé wine category has shown double digit annual U.S. sales
growth since 2015, including 40 percent growth by volume in
2018 to reach $500 million in value, with growth at all price tiers.
U.S.-produced and French-produced rosés equally share the U.S.
market at about 45 percent each, but U.S. rosé sales are growing
at a faster pace.
A panel of growers and winemakers discussed the opportunities
and challenges of producing premium rosé during the session
titled "Rosé Revealed: Farming Reds and Making Whites" at the
2019 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium.
"In the U.S., at least 36 different grape varieties are represented
in the rosé market," said moderator Nick Dokoozlian, vice
president of viticulture, chemistry and enology for E. & J. Gallo
Winery. Traditional south of France Rhône varieties are popular,
such as grenache, mourvedre, syrah and counoise. Pinot noir has
become a popular rosé variety in California, and will likely grow
with increases in pinot planting and production.
The rosé category offers opportunities for California growers to
sell red varieties that have fallen out of style or are underutilized
(syrah, sangiovese, zinfandel, merlot). Rosés can be made from
the first crops from young red vineyards, and from vineyard sites
or vintages that do not reach ripeness and color levels suitable for
red wines. During Unified's State of the Industry session, Allied
Grape Growers President Jeff Bitter said based on California vine
sales trends, "Grapes for rosé are not necessarily on the radar.
Existing grapes likely are going to rosé programs, but it could
influence planting in the future."
Dokoozlian said viticultural practices can be
different when managing red varieties
for rosé production, including crop load
management, canopy management,
fertilization and irrigation.
In the United States, at least three dozen grape varieties are represented in the
rosé market. Photo by Meredith Ritchie.
FRENCH PROVENCE STYLE
The Provence style of dry rosé is one of the more popular
globally. Many producers emulate this style, a factor driving the
rosé growth boom. Nathalie Longefay, with the French consulting
firm Cabinet d'Agronomie Provençale, provided insight on
Provence production methods and regulations. Red varieties
allowed for rosé include grenache noir, cinsault, counoise,
mourvedre, syrah, tibouren, cabernet sauvignon and carignan. In
addition, six white varieties are allowed for blending. Provence
rosés traditionally are based on either grenache or mourvedre as
the main variety.
Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles is a joint venture between
the Haas family of the U.S. and the Perrin family of Chateau
de Beaucastel in France. The Perrin family's Provence rosés are
among the most popular imported rosés in the U.S. Tablas Creek
has produced dry rosés for 20 years, and in 2010 began making
its Patelin de Tablas, when Provence rosé popularity took off
The Crush - February 2019
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