Market trends: spotlight on Rosé wines

October 20, 2022

Consumption of Rosé wine around the world has risen dramatically in the last decade, with sales in the US growing from only 149,000 cases in 2010 to an incredible 2.3 million in 2020. We look at the trends that are driving the global Rosé wine sector, and how producers are using creative packaging to tell their brand’s story and grab consumer attention in a competitive market.

The explosion of Rosé wines on the international market has been driven by European wines, with France leading the way both in terms of production and consumption. According to the 2020 World Rosé Observatory report, France produces more than a quarter of the world’s production, while each French person drinks an average of 16 litres of Rosé a year. Drizly, the online wine retailer, reports that in 2021, 75 per cent of its top-selling Rosé brands were French with Château d’Esclans’ Whispering Angel topping the list.

Rosés from Provence have become hugely popular around the world over the past decade, with 43 per cent of production destined for international destinations. The biggest success story has been the US market where Rosé sales have multiplied by 40 times in 10 years. Consumer awareness has been boosted by a crop of US celebrities – including Brad Pitt and John Malkovich – buying wine estates in Provence.

One of the key trends driving the Rosé market is premiumisation. While Rosé wine once has the reputation of being lower quality – something to be drunk only in the summertime, and generally by women – it has evolved to become an aspirational choice. Today’s premium Rosé wines are complex, textual in flavour, and range from pale and delicate to bold and full-flavoured.

This trend towards premiumisation is reflected in the way brands are packaging their wines. As seen in the annual Pink Design Awards, there is a strong preference for clear bottles without a traditional label in order to showcase and magnify the colour of the wine inside to maximum effect. This transparency is often enhanced further with a glass stopper. There is a trend for sleek, minimalist bottles and out-of-the-ordinary shapes which turn the package into a design object. Many brands are opting for delicate embossing which adds a tactile element to the bottle and can be used to highlight the brand’s heritage, values and prestige, while still allowing the beauty of the wine itself to shine through. These ‘Instagrammable’ bottles enhance the vibe of summer celebration associated with Rosé, and have particularly strong appeal for millennial and Gen Z consumers.

Another key trend in the Rosé sector is a strong growth in sparkling wine. Sparkling Rosés grew in popularity during the pandemic, when consumers were seeking ways of bringing a touch of fun and frivolity to their everyday lives during a difficult time. As well as adding a sense of occasion when opened with friends and family, these wines work well as an aperitif or to pair with a variety of foods from brunch to seafood to dessert. According to Drizly, sparkling Rosé sales have grown by 47 per cent between 2021 to 2022.

Rosé has also evolved to encompass a variety of other drinking opportunities – from light Rosé wines used in cocktails to bold, fuller-flavoured Rosés which lean into the trend for chilled red wines. The diversification of Rosé and its growing popularity among serious wine drinkers is opening up new opportunities for brands to create a connection with consumers via packages that are as aesthetically pleasing as the wine itself.

Last but not least, in this quest for the trendiest bottle we can't miss out the 'talk of the town' of today's wines: Prosecco. Having gone Rosé a couple of years ago, this now represents more than 10 per cent of overall production, equating to 70 million bottles. According to consumer research the pink version of the fastest growing Italian sparkling wine is perceived as being higher quality, more elegant and more feminine than its standard white counterpart. But there is more than just image: looking at its sensory profile, Prosecco Rosé shows more roundness and an intense flavour of red fruit and red flowers. We will continue hearing about this success for years to come.