Exports of rosé from Provence boom thanks to American wine lovers

Exports of rosé wine from Provence have shot up and it's largely because Americans have a growing thirst for the pink drink. But why is that?

Exports of rosé from Provence boom thanks to American wine lovers
Photo: AFP
The popularity of the drink which was mocked just 20 years ago has reached new heights abroad.
And that's particularly true in the US, with the country accounting for a whopping 50 percent of exports of the Provencal rosé wine last year. 
“The phenomenon of the internationalization of rosé wines from Provence is accelerating,” said Brice Eymard, leader of France's Provence Wine Council (CIVP) during a press conference in Paris on Thursday.
“Until 2010-2011, we exported very little, France was the main producer and consumer, but we now see the share of exports sharply accelerating,” he said. 

France winning war of the rosé to prove 'pink is plonk'

In the US, some 22 million bottles of rosé wine were sold last year, which accounts for 43 percent Provence rosé exports in volume and half in terms of value. 

Though France remains the world's foremost consumer of rose, pulling corks on some eight million hectolitres (176 million gallons) in 2015 alone, its booming popularity in the US has been a major boon for French winegrowers.

“Americans have totally integrated rose into the wine family,” said Olivier Brun, who along with his three brothers runs a family vineyard at Chateau Brigue, at Le Luc-en-Provence in the southeastern Var region.

“It's easily accessible and there's no need to be an expert to enjoy it,” he said.

Some 70 percent of the Brun family's sales are exports — half of them to the United States — “our top market,” where Florida, California, New York and, latterly, Chicago lead the way.

“Over there, rose is drunk in all seasons even in colder cities,” said Brun. “And it flows all summer long in the chic Hamptons,” the Long Island retreat of wealthy New Yorkers.

“Rose sales to the United States began to take off a decade ago thanks to (marketing) efforts by large estates such as Ott and Chateau de Peyrassol, a small pioneer,” says Brun.

But it's not just US wine drinkers who have fallen for the drink with sales increasing all over the world.
In total, nine countries bought more than 10,000 hectoliters in 2017, compared to just two (Belgium and Switzerland) in 2008. 



Cold snap ‘could slash French wine harvest by 30 percent’

A rare cold snap that froze vineyards across much of France this month could see harvest yields drop by around a third this year, France's national agriculture observatory said on Thursday.

Cold snap 'could slash French wine harvest by 30 percent'
A winemaker checks whether there is life in the buds of his vineyard in Le Landreau, near Nantes in western France, on April 12th, following several nights of frost. Photo: Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP

Winemakers were forced to light fires and candles among their vines as nighttime temperatures plunged after weeks of unseasonably warm weather that had spurred early budding.

Scores of vulnerable fruit and vegetable orchards were also hit in what Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie called “probably the greatest agricultural catastrophe of the beginning of the 21st century.”

IN PICTURES: French vineyards ablaze in bid to ward off frosts

The government has promised more than €1 billion in aid for destroyed grapes and other crops.

Based on reported losses so far, the damage could result in up to 15 million fewer hectolitres of wine, a drop of 28 to 30 percent from the average yields over the past five years, the FranceAgriMer agency said.

That would represent €1.5 to €2 billion of lost revenue for the sector, Ygor Gibelind, head of the agency’s wine division, said by videoconference.

It would also roughly coincide with the tally from France’s FNSEA agriculture union.

Prime Minister Jean Castex vowed during a visit to damaged fields in southern France last Saturday that the emergency aid would be made available in the coming days to help farmers cope with the “exceptional situation.”

READ ALSO: ‘We’ve lost at least 70,000 bottles’ – French winemakers count the cost of late frosts