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Competition Heats Up In Booming Rosé Category

June 7, 2021

U.S. consumer demand for rosé has continued to rise lately despite some significant headwinds that faced both domestic and imported brands.

Competition has ratcheted up as new brands continue to flood the market, each looking to carve out a niche in the exciting but very crowded category. The result has been cognizance within that trade that, on one hand, consumer demand for rosé is stronger than ever and, on the other, the market is becoming overwhelmed with options.

“We know that there is going to be consolidation of the number of rosés on the shelf,” says Jeff Ngo, senior vice president of marketing for WX Brands, who notes the importance of building brand equity in light of the intense competition. WX Brands owns Bread & Butter, an Impact “Hot Brand” for 2020. The brand’s rosé offering was launched in 2019 in select markets and expanded nationally last year.

Gregory Doody, president and CEO of Vineyard Brands, which markets La Vieille Ferme rosé (a Hot Brand that jumped 29.3% to 436,000 cases last year), has seen a shakeout in recent months, spurred in part by the pandemic. “While it is a crowded field with strong competition, at least we’ve seen some of the wines that shouldn’t have been made in the first place disappear,” he says. “We have been seeing some very aggressive price promotions beyond the usual vintage closeout promotions. These new price promotions seem to have been aimed at cleaning out a backlog of wine due to the pandemic.”

“The rosé category has probably been one of the most disrupted wine categories in the last 12 months,” says Carlos Varela, chief operating officer for Barton & Guestier, which released the 2020 Tourmaline Côtes de Provence rosé in February. “The 25% tariffs and Covid-19 related on-premise shutdowns have created a stock surplus situation leading to plummeting retail prices, aggressive vintage closeouts, and blurred notions of authenticity, quality and freshness. All of this may have long-term effects on the category and its sustainability.”

A shifting exchange rate has also been detrimental to wines imported from Europe, notes Scott Diaz, vice president of marketing for importer Wilson Daniels, which recently added Provence’s Commanderie de Peyrassol to its portfolio. The exchange rate, the tariffs and a short vintage in 2018 in Provence have resulted in a “shift in players at the top of the field,” he says. “I think you’re seeing a bit of attrition of those who could not tackle those obstacles initially and thus had to reinvent themselves,” Diaz says. “Quality will prevail. There will be some commoditized players at the entry level price point, but you’re going to see those at the $20 price point really continue to grow.”—Carol Ward

 

Leading French Rosé Brands In The U.S.
(thousands of 9-liter case depletions)
Brand Importer 2019 2020 Percent
Change1
Chateau d’Esclans Moët Hennessy USA 490 525 7.0%
La Vieille Ferme Vineyard Brands 337 436 29.3%
Gérard Bertrand Gérard Bertrand USA 282 330 17.2%
Yes Way Rosé Prestige Beverage Group 134 151 12.3%
Miraval Vineyard Brands 125 147 17.4%
The Palm by Whispering Angel Moët Hennessy USA 100 110 10.0%
1 Based on unrounded data.
Source: IMPACT DATABANK © 2021
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