More than 60 million bottles of rosé wine are sold in the UK each year, and according to wine experts and consumer trends, the nation’s thirst for pink wine is set to continue. Sales of rosé now account for one in ten of all still wines sold, indicating a change in perceptions around this formerly polarising wine style. Leading supermarket Sainsbury’s now sells 55 different still rosé wines from all over the world, and this is set to grow. So, in honour of National Rosé Day on Saturday (June 11) we talked to the head of wine sales at Sainsbury’s to see how and why people buy it, drink it and love it…
According to Elizabeth Newman, Head of Beer, Wines and Spirits at Sainsbury’s, the launch of celebrity rosé wines from the likes of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Drew Barrymore are pushing the perceptions of rosé to new heights. Cult rosés like Whispering Angel have also helped to make it a more aspirational drink, particularly among millenials.
The British still have some way to go before catching up with France – where rosé actually outsells white wine – but it is clear that rosé is an increasingly important part of the UK consumer’s drinks choice. Indeed, the 15 million bottles of rosé sold per year in Sainsbury’s is enough to fill 8,800 hot tubs! Generally perceived to be the wine of choice for summer, sales of rosé wine enjoy a significant uplift in July. However, there is also a loyal fan base who enjoy rosé wine all year round – a huge 33% of those surveyed for the Supermarket’s Rosé Report said they would choose to drink it throughout the year. When it comes to choosing which rosé to buy, whether it’s a paler Provence or darker Californian style, rosé drinkers let their palates decide, with 36% of people saying that taste is the most important factor.
Interestingly, while it might be expected that older drinkers would prefer the most traditional styles of rosé, insights commissioned by Sainsbury’s indicate it’s the younger generation, or millenials, who are tipping the scales in favour of lighter styles of rosé wine. More than a quarter 18-24 year olds stated that they’d be more likely to serve a lighter-coloured rosé wine than a darker one to guests (YouGov), suggesting that paler styles have a reputation among the younger generation of being better quality or more premium. In fact, 18-24 year olds are twice as likely to opt for a paler pink rosé compared with those over 45.
A rosé for all seasons
Rosé has a loyal customer base and has become a popular wine choice all year round for a third of people in the UK (Sainsbury’s Research). As you’d expect, rosé drinking habits are also directly impacted by the arrival of warmer, sunnier weather. Sainsbury’s sales data shows that when the sun is out it has a huge effect on encouraging customers to enjoy a glass of rosé and also on the style of wine they choose. New world rosé wines such as Californian Grenache are most popular in April or May, while sales of the lighter coloured old world rosé wines routinely peak in July (see chart below). Last April, sales of Sainsbury’s Californian Grenache Rosé increased by 400% compared with the previous month – no coincidence that the Met Office noted it was the sunniest April on record since tracking began in 1929!
3 things you need to know about rosé
- Rosé is not ‘watered down’ red wine – rosés are made from red grapes but not macerated for as long on the skins so the juice doesn’t take as much of the colour.
- Rosé is a perfect match for food – oysters and European rosés pair especially well.
- Pink wine is not just for girls – more men than ever are enjoying rosé because they love the taste. With so many styles on the market there’s a rosé for everyone.
- National Rosé Day is celebrated across the UK on 11th June 2016, for more of Sainsbury’s rosé range, visit Sainsburys.co.uk.