The Barcelonian wine label disrupting the rosé category
Innovators in Provence have created fresh demand in Europe for premium, dry rosés with a focus on the good life in southern France. Now, BORN ROSÉ, the first digital native wine brand, has launched a special rosé born in a special city with the aim of being a reflection and inspiration of Barcelona’s lifestyle and state of mind.
The wine is made with a blend of organic Grenache and Tempranillo sourced from vineyards in Penedés, better known for its Cava production, and fermented in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature, but founders Ferran Vilà & Jana Robles prefer not to go into too much depth at first. For these two entrepreneurs, it’s all about Catalonia’s cosmopolitan capital.
“F. Vilà & J. Robles wanted to create a brand that would be focusing on providing really great quality and a simplified speech,” BORN ROSÉ’s head of marketing, Diane Fitzgerald, says.
“The branding goes into the way you enjoy it. It’s all about enjoying and really focusing on the quality and taste and great moments you have while you’re sharing the wine, whether it’s in a bar, at the pool, in your garden.”
Fitzgerald says BORN ROSÉ’s relationship with its international consumer community living in Barcelona sets it apart from the category. “The Sofias, as we like to call them.”
“They are more than their consumers…the wine was co-created with a selection of 100 consumers coming from everywhere in Europe: a giant wine tasting to finish defining the best coupage with the perfect colour, taste and balance between sweetness and acidity. Each and every product BORN ROSÉ develops is going through the same process. Previously shared in order to co-create with its community.”
Vilà and Robles are not the first entrepreneurs to realise that a sense of place can elevate a wine brand from decent to premium. French wine group MDCV owns five Provence wine labels. It’s Ultimate Provence label, which is sold in upscale on-trade venues such as Soho House, recently opened its own resort to attract wealthy millennials to the rose heartland.
But the BORN ROSÉ team believe other regions have a chance to come into their own. “Besides having a great quality rosé, what we really want to communicate is the Barcelona and Mediterranean state of mind” Fitzgerald says. During lockdown, the brand launched a competition on Instagram, asking followers to sketch or paint their favourite Barcelonean scenes, “and we basically created a virtual tour of Barcelona that way, enabling people to create all together and escape from home, linking the brand to art, which is an important part of our DNA.”
The wines can be found exclusively at around 400 supermarket Sainsbury’s in the UK, but the large proportion are sold either online in gift packs with wine accessories such as ice buckets, bottle caps and glasses, or in what they call “Cool Places” – Nobu Hotel Barcelona, Soho House Berlin, New York’s Alison Restaurant and Ibiza’s Beso Beach, to name a few. The main objective is to enable consumers to find their Born Rosé wine in a place sharing the same philosophy: everything is about enjoying life and the special Rosé moment. The BORN ROSÉ team believes this enables consumers to enjoy the rose in a place they feel comfortable and have a good experience.
“It’s not about selling, it’s about being able to find us in many places. The selection process for those hot spots creates the special atmosphere that we communicate in our marketing.”
“In most [retail outlets] you can’t taste it before you buy, so the objective was to let consumers taste it before buying it, and also about creating the right moment in which to taste.”
When it comes to the wine itself, the brand has an intricate focus on its target consumer. One of the unique concepts behind BORN ROSÉ is the production process. The grapes are sourced from organic vineyards in Penedés, which is better known for Cava, and several versions are vinified, again organically, by an established producer in the area. Then, Born Rosé’s founders recruit more than 100 consumers in Barcelona to taste each possible blend, so they can create a finished product they know will tickle their target audience’s tastes.
“We wanted to focus on something that the consumer was looking for, not to create the brand for us, but what consumers want or need or desire.” The base is tasted by a team of industry professionals each year, before BORN ROSÉ organises a follow-up tasting with hundreds of people around Europe. The consumer test group also has a say in things like the wine’s colour and the bottle’s design. The formula clearly works, as BORN ROSÉ picked up a gold medal in our 2020 Rose Masters, in which all wines are tasted blind.
“We have a disruptive positioning,” Fitzgerald says. “We want to keep close to our consumer and keep developing innovative and disruptive products with them, and for them!”