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French Rosé, Part 1: Top Players On The Rise

May 23, 2022

After surging in popularity over the past decade, the market for French rosé wines in the U.S. has grown much more competitive lately. But the segment’s leaders continue to churn out solid growth, with the 19 leading French rosé brands in the U.S. increasing a collective 5.7% to almost 2.6 million cases last year, according to Impact Databank. Those same brands accounted for only 1.2 million cases in 2017, and several labels among their ranks weren’t even on the market yet.

Market leader Whispering Angel continued its long-term growth streak, rising 5.8% to 565,000 cases last year and widening its lead over second-ranked La Vieille Ferme. Whispering Angel, produced at Provence’s Château d’Esclans and imported by Moët Hennessy USA, has more than doubled in volume in the past five years. The Château d’Esclans portfolio also includes estate rosés Château d’Esclans, Les Clans, and Garrus, along with Rock Angel, Whispering Angel, and new release The Beach, formerly known as The Palm.

The various wines in d’Esclans portfolio are positioned to appeal to specific consumer demographics, with The Beach aimed at the younger wine consumers just learning about the rosé category who wouldn’t typically reach for the higher-priced offerings. “The Beach is a stepping stone for that newer generation of wine drinkers,” says Paul Chevalier, vice president of Château d’Esclans at Moët Hennessy USA. “We wanted to stay authentic to Provence, but it’s a different appellation within Provence and a bit more fruit-forward.”

Sacha Lichine, who founded Chateau d’Esclans, is again on the move in Provence rosé. Last year he partnered with Shaw-Ross International to launch a new brand called The Pale. Lichine’s new label got off to a strong start last year, depleting 40,000 cases in its debut.

Famed Languedoc producer Gérard Bertrand has seen continued momentum across the portfolio of French organic and biodynamic wines. Rosés under the namesake brand grew 4.5% in the U.S. in 2021 to 345,000 cases, while Hampton Water–a collaboration with musician Jon Bon Jovi and his son, Jesse Bongiovi–also landed among the leading French rosés last year with 15% growth in the U.S. to 40,000 cases. Since 2018, Hampton Water has doubled its U.S. volume.

The Gérard Bertrand rosé lineup also includes Clos de Temple at the luxury end and more accessibly priced offerings such as Source of Joy, Gris Blanc rosé, and Cote des Roses. “We over-deliver in terms of quality, and people love the wines. That’s the key to success in the U.S. market,” says winemaker Gérard Bertrand. “Rosé is not just a drink. It’s a lifestyle product.” We’ll have more on the leading French rosés in the U.S. in part two of this feature.—Kimberly Carmichael

Leading French Rosé Brands in the U.S.
(thousands of 9-liter case depletions)
Brand Company 2020 2021 Percent
Whispering Angel Moët Hennessy USA 534 565 5.8%
La Vieille Ferme Vineyard Brands 436 397 -9.0%
Gérard Bertrand Gérard Bertrand USA 330 345 4.5%
Yes Way Rosé Prestige Beverage Group 151 165 9.6%
Miraval Vineyard Brands 147 158 7.8%
The Beach by Whispering Angel Moët Hennessy USA 110 150 36.4%
Total Leading Brands2 1,708 1,780 4.2%
1 Based on unrounded data.
2 Addition of columns may not agree due to rounding.
Source: IMPACT DATABANK © 2022
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