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Rosé boom far from over

Blossom Hill has claimed that the UK rosé category is “only just touching the surface of what can be achieved,” suggesting that incremental growth of £235 million is well within reach.

Speaking to the drinks business, Blossom Hill UK marketing manager Liz Ashdown, described the brand’s rosés as “really key to attracting new consumers coming into the wine market.”

“They say it has the sophistication they want from wine but it hasn’t got the heaviness,” she explained.

This positive outlook follows in the wake of a labelling problem for Blossom Hill’s rosé wines, when authorities in Italy, where the products are bottled, forced the Californian brand to abandon the names White Zinfandel and White Grenache.

It also counters recent analysis by on-trade data specialists CGA Strategy, which suggested that UK rosé sales were facing a challenge from new products such as Gallo Family Vineyards Summer Red and a failure to break into higher price points.

Identifying the growth opportunity, Ashdown quoted Nielsen data (to 06.08.11), which shows that just one third of UK households currently buy rosé, compared to the 50% who purchase red and white wine. Moreover, of those who do buy rosé, the frequency of purchase is just 4.5 times a year.

Projecting from these statistics, Ashdown observed that increasing this frequency to just five time a year would represent as much as a £200m category opportunity. Meanwhile, she claimed that increasing penetration to 45% of households could result in £235m incremental growth.

“The opportunity within rosé is huge to really unlock penetration, broaden its appeal and establish it as a fun part of consumers’ wine drinking repertoire,” summarised Ashdown.

As part of achieving this target, Ashdown revealed that the Percy Fox-owned brand was “working with retailers to show there are more styles, from sweeter and fruitier through to dryer.

“By going into some dryer styles, it will help consumers to buy a little more frequently and to drink it with food,” she continued, but added: “The heartland for rosé is still the sweeter styles and we need to drive that still further.”

For further analysis of the performance and potential of Zinfandel, look out for the November issue of the drinks business.

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