Pink used to be plonk. But no longer. The market for rosê is acquiring a serious hue.
Just in case you thought pink wasn’t your colour, think again. The world has started to drink rosê. In fact, the French knock back over a third of the pink wine produced on the planet. The stamp of chic came with the launch of Miraval, a high-end Provencal rosê from the hippest wine-making couple on the planet, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Produced at their 1, 000-acre organic estate in Correns, France, the first lot of 6, 000 bottles sold out in March within five hours of release.
The interest in blush wine is hardly sudden. According to the 11th VinExpo study on the ‘Current trends in the international wine and spirits market and outlook to 2016′, conducted by the International Wine & Spirit Research, consumption of rosê wines is expected to increase by 7. 58 per cent between 2011 and 2016, reaching a total share of 9. 2 per cent of all wine drunk in the world.
This global trend has taken its time to reach Indian shores but now, there’s no ladies lunch, romantic dinner or a wedding that doesn’t have rosê on the menu. “Rosê is definitely a fast-moving item during lunch and its popular with the ladies, ” says Kapil Vig, F&B manager of The Lalit, New Delhi.
Its restaurants offer three labels of rosê varying in price from Rs 2, 500 to Rs 15, 000 per bottle. “Pink champagne is, in fact, very popular with the younger crowd. For example, Billecart-Salmon pink champagne does much better than the regular one, ” adds Vig.
India has taken its time to warm up to the summery goodness of rosê because most people here have a binary view of wine. It is either white or red. Rosê was just assumed to be a weak red wine. Another popular perception was that rosê is a girlie drink. But for the longest time, lack of good rosê was the big problem.
Now there are at least 10 different types of rosê, still and sparkling, and even Indian wine makers like Sula and Vinsura have produced some great, value-for-money rosê. Even though the rosê market is still relatively small with an only 5 per cent market share – it is 10 per cent of the total wine production globally – Indian importers and wine makers are enthused enough about it. According to the IWSR India Market Research Study, 55, 000 cases of rosê were consumed in India in 2012 and the 2013 estimate is 60, 000 cases (each case holds nine litres).
Mumbai-based Aspri Spirits (Pvt) Ltd, one of the leading distributors of imported premium wines, spirits and beer in the country, has seen demand for the pink stuff grow – their volume of rosê has increased by 35-40 per cent every year.
The company has brought in several labels like Champagne Lombard Cuvee Brut Rosê, Bulle No. 1, AOC Cremant Rosê De Limox, Mateus Rosê, Mateus Sparkling Rosê and Two Oceans Shiraz Rosê and has plans of introducing more labels into the market.
“Earlier, it was not a preferred drink simply because people did not know about it. Now it is gaining popularity as one of the most preferred forms of champagne, ” says Ashwin Deo from Aspri.
Sula Vineyards produced their first batch of rosê back in 2005, and today the label has three different rosê in different price categories. Most Indian wineries, now, produce and market at least one rosê wine, according to Cecilia Oldne, global brand ambassador and head of international business at Sula Vineyards.
The reason, she says, is because “It is a fun, happy and easy to drink wine. It is uncomplicated and we try to uncomplicate it even further. In one of our campaigns ‘Rosê on the Rocks’ we encourage our customers to serve it on ice, ” she details. One of her favourite cocktails, she says, is St Tropez, rosê with two-thirds of Fanta/Miranda and a slice of lime.
Rosê champagnes have also become the symbol of extravagance and romance. Every year, like it has for the past seven years, Moet & Chandon offers rosê-paired dinners at a hundred restaurants in the country on February 14. On the back of the fact that it has doubled its volumes every year for the rosê, Moet Hennessy India is hoping to push rosê into one of India’s biggest industries, weddings. “The Moet & Chandon Rosê Impêrial is the champagne of choice for those looking to gift someone an ultimate expression of love. In a $25 billion Indian wedding market, growing at a rate of 20-25 per cent annually, we see a strong trend of rosê champagnes.
We offer bottles personalised with ‘his and her’ initials, in crystals – this elegant offering often accompanies wedding invites replacing the traditional mithai box. Magnum (1. 5 litre) bottles are also a striking statement when served at a mehendi or sangeet, ” says Gaurav Bhatia, marketing director, Moet Hennessy India.
Nikhil Agarwal, sommelier and director, All Things Nice, a fine-dining consultancy firm in Mumbai feels that the rosê’s biggest plus points are that it’s a versatile, lighter style fruity wine and it adapts very well to Indian food and weather. “For Indian food with all its spice, sa refreshing rosê is a great match.
Every restaurant and hotel in India has at least two rosês on their wine list and it’s only going up. I can tell you that the number of people drinking a glass of rosê at lunch on a hot night or just because they like it will increase dramatically;all we need is a little time, ” he says.