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Provence Rosé Tops 1 Million Cases In U.S., And Keeps Climbing

May 3, 2017

Imports of Provence rosé increased tenfold between 2010 and 2016, rising from 123,000 nine-liter cases to nearly 1.3 million cases, according to Impact Databank, as consumers have flocked to the category, especially in the on-premise. The U.S. accounted for 43% of Provence’s exports by volume in 2016, according to the Vins de Provence trade group, and 2017 is shaping up to be another banner year.

Chateau d’Esclans and its Whispering Angel brand—handled by Shaw-Ross International Importers—has been a major growth driver within the Provence rosé category. Last year, Shaw-Ross sold 200,000 cases of d’Esclans’ wines in the U.S., and is projecting 300,000 cases for 2017, with Whispering Angel ($20-25 a 750-ml.) accounting for about 80% of the total.

“Whispering Angel has helped create the modern rosé category in America these past ten years,” says Paul Chevalier, vice president of national fine wine for Shaw-Ross’s Lineage Collection. “Today, rosé consumption is not just the summer wine of the Hamptons. The trend continues to spread across all 50 states.”

“The next level for premium rosé will be in the $30-$35 range. In the case of Château d’Esclans, it will be Rock Angel rosé,” adds Bruce Hunter, Shaw-Ross’s managing director, referring to Whispering Angel’s higher-priced portfoliomate.

Chateau Miraval ($20-$25), imported by Vineyard Brands, produced 91,000 cases for the American market in 2016. Miraval has only been commercially releasing wine since 2012 and already claims about 7% of the market for Provence rosé. Miraval’s popularity has grown quickly, in part due to celebrity owners Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

Treasury Wine Estates Americas’ Chateau Minuty ($20 and up) is also fully participating in the upswing. In 2016, Minuty increased 17% to 28,000 cases in the U.S. TWE chief executive Michael Clarke recently told SND that the company is bullish on growth prospects for the brand, which came to TWE as part of its $600 million acquisition of the former Diageo Chateau & Estate in 2015.

While many importers have been adding rosés as bolt-on offerings, New York-based Turquoise Life is building its foundation on the category. “We’re exactly the opposite of a traditional importing company. 67% of our sales are rosé,” says Tunch Doker, Turquoise Life’s co-founder. Turquoise Life’s most popular rosés are all from Provence: VieVite ($20) and VieVite Extraordinaire ($30), as well as Juliette ($15) and Breezette ($12). Turquoise Life plans to import 84,000 cases of Provence rosé this year, with the on-premise as its primary market.

Industry leaders still see plenty of room for growth moving forward. “Rosés from the Côtes de Provence appellation have been trending at +40% these past four to five years,” notes Chevalier of Shaw-Ross, adding that he’s confident the trend will continue at least through 2018.—Shane English

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