UK’s best selling pink fizz gets 20cl format

The best selling pink fizz in UK retail, Freixenet Italian sparkling rosé, now comes in a new format following the addition of a 20cl miniature version with identical packaging cues to the standard size bottle.

Freixenet’s 20cl Italian rosé

Known by the producer, Henkell Freixenet, as the ‘to go’ format, the 20cl pink sparkling has been launched to tap into two key trends in the UK: smaller bottle sizes and an increase in rosé sales.

Speaking to the drinks business last week from Germany, CEO of Henkell Freixenet, Dr. Andreas Brokemper, said that “Freixenet rosé is the best-selling rosé sparkling wine in the UK market; people love it.”

Although the fizz is made in Prosecco, and uses the region’s flagship grape, Glera, blended with a small proportion of red variety Pinot Noir to achieve its light pink hue, the rosé sparkling cannot be called Prosecco, because the pink fizz is not allowed according to the regulations of the DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata).

However, as previously reported by db, it was expected that the laws of the region would be changed by late last year to allow for the production of pink Prosecco using the fruit from the 2019 harvest – which would allow Freixenet to label its best-seller this year as ‘Prosecco’.

While it is still expected that the DOC law will change to allow pink Italian sparkling produced in the region to be labelled ‘Prosecco’, it is more likely this will happen from the 2020 harvest, particularly with the crisis in the region from the spread of Covid-19, which is particularly bad in the northern part of Italy where Prosecco is produced.

Brokemper told db when asked about the possibility of Prosecco rosato, “I think it will come in 2020, and it was intended to come in 2019 so we could sell Prosecco rosé in 2020, but I think it was postponed due to the European elections.”

Should it be allowed this year, what does Brokemper believe will be the impact on the Freixenet Italian rosé?

“It is not easy to predict,” he began. “Freixenet Italian rosé is a blend of Glera and Pinot Noir, which is the same [as proposed] for Prosecco rosé, so the taste will be the same,” he added.

Continuing he said, “I think it can give some drive, and rosé in general is growing in many markets, such as the UK, and in the USA the two categories in growth are rosé and Prosecco.”

Nevertheless, he concluded by saying that because the most powerful cue for consumers on the Freixenet Italian rosé was the Freixenet brand itself, changing the label from Italian Rosé to Prosecco would, in his view, “not make a big difference.”

As covered in detail in the March edition of db, it is to the surprise of many outside the industry that the term Prosecco rosé is not allowed under the regulations of the DOC, meaning any producer making a pink fizz cannot use the word Prosecco on the label.

Discussions are ongoing, and it is thought that the law won’t be authorised until the summer, meaning it’s more likely that Prosecco rosato will be made using grapes from this year’s harvest, rather than last year’s.

The rules for this additional product are believed to stipulate that pink Prosecco can only be made using Glera grapes blended with up to 15% red wine made from Pinot Nero (Noir).

“It’s becoming a soap opera,” said Paolo Lasagni, managing director of Casa Vinicola Bosco Malera, one of the largest co-operative grower producers in northeastern Italy, referring to the delay in gaining DOC approval for Prosecco rosato, when speaking to db last month.

“Everything is ready, and the new regulations are sitting with the Ministry of Agriculture, so we are waiting for approval, but it should have been ready for this January, and for some reason it has been delayed,” he said.

“I am hoping it will be ready for the next harvest – for us it is a plus because the Prosecco appellation is so well known, and the colour pink has been growing in popularity for the past five years, and in our company we already have quite a lot of Pinot Noir that we can vinify as pink,” he concluded.

Read more

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