The rosé revolution

COMPETITIVE WORLD

“Rosé is very lifestyle orientated and I don’t think you need to take it too seriously. We are in a world where branding is key, and at the moment, because it’s competitive, when you don’t have a strong brand you get lost in a big pool of players.

Your brand is a unique way to make sure that your wine is recognised on a list.” In a category so defined by image, is there a risk that style could outweigh substance and hamper the success of rosé being perceived as a ‘serious’ wine? Not so, according to Erica Blumenthal and Nikki Huganir, co-founders of rosé-based lifestyle brand ‘Yes Way Rosé’, who based their brand on being ‘qualité rosé that doesn’t take itself too seriouslé’.

The pair started their @yeswayrose Instagram account in 2013 to share their “burgeoning obsession” with pink wine, which has since snowballed into a wine brand of its own, with a portfolio of branded products including sweaters, candles, tote bags and t-shirts. “It’s possible to have a serious wine and build it in the lifestyle world,” the pair state. “Why should wine be different from food, coffee or beer? To us, Yes Way Rosé was always about both wine and a lifestyle.

The apparel and home goods we have designed are pieces intended to reflect the spirit of rosé and the values we associate with it, which is primarily about spreading joy. You don’t have to love rosé to want to light our candle or wear one of our baseball caps, and you don’t need to love the merchandise if you love rosé wine. But if you do that’s the best of both worlds.”

YES WAY ROSE

In 2015, the pair launched a US$15 (£10.75) Grenache/Syrah rosé from California’s Central Coast called Summer Water in collaboration with LA-based direct-to-consumer wine club Winc. But their brand really took off after actor Drew Barrymore, a winemaker herself, was pictured wearing their ‘Yes Way Rosé’ sweater.

“US customers are still learning about the joys of classic dry Provençal-style rosés,” they say. “Many still believe that blush-hued wine is sweet. This represents a huge market that still needs to be converted. Otherwise, sparking rosé is definitely booming. We’ve also noticed a growing trend for rosé versions of other types of drinks like cider and vodka coming onto the market.” One of the biggest challenges for rosé is widening its appeal beyond the summer, says Crosnier, while also exploring and proving its potential to age. “The biggest problem is that it’s a ‘summer’ wine and one that should be drunk in its first year,” he says. “It’s difficult to have a real idea at the moment of the ability to age top rosé. It’s possible in Bandol, which could soon be considered the grand cru of Provence, but the style is a bit different.”

The absence of men in the category is also worth noting. Haughton says: “One challenge we have with rosé is that it’s quite feminine. All of the innovation around packaging is very feminine. I know there are guys that are happy to drink pints of fruit cider, so how can we engage them with rosé in the long term?” The Yes Way Rosé brand’s market, for example, is “mostly women aged between 25-45”. Blumenthal and Huganir are keen for their brand to be inclusive, but stress that what has made Yes Way Rosé so successful is that they are their own core demographic. “It’s not a company run by a man in his 40s or 50s trying to capture what he and his team think women in their 20s and 30s want – we are those women, and are able to talk to our community directly in a way that resonates.”

In this context, the pair drew parallels to the rise of rosé with craft beer, specifically in the US market.

One Response to “The rosé revolution”

  1. “Invariably light and easy drinking” I keep finding it distressing that all pink wine is lumped together. We make a rosé that is pretty full bodied. It is barrel fermented and sur lees. A two year production cycle. Put it in a black glass and people will accept it as a white Burgundy.
    There is a lot of pink crap out there, anytime a category booms there’s a lowering of average quality. Although Rosé is a broad group that has been mostly pretty lame. I used to be involved in making sweet, pink crap.
    To put all rosé wines in a group is as silly as putting all colors in a group. Oh! Wait! That’s bigotry!
    There is a lot more to ROSÉ, maybe you should do a story on those making the exceptions to pink, overpriced plonk?
    Paul Vandenberg
    Proud producer of dry, sur lees, barrel aged rosé wines since 1999.
    Paradisos del Sol
    Home of Vineyard del Sol, the World’s first Zero Pesticide Vineyard

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