In Focus: Rosé Revolution

In recent years, pink wine has experienced a revolution, going from a frivolous tipple to a wildly popular celeb-backed drink. Lucy Shaw investigates its dramatic transformation.

For proof of how far the rosé category has come, look no further than Jeremy Clarkson. The brash, bullish former Top Gear petrol head is a huge fan of the wine. It isn’t something that he drinks in secret, or admits to being a guilty pleasure – it’s a wine he’s openly proud of drinking.

Less than a decade ago, a man seen ordering a glass of rosé in a pub might be laughed at. Today, no one would bat an eyelid. In a recent column in The Sun newspaper, Clarkson struck upon rosé’s inherent appeal. “There’s no snobbishness to it. It’s just something you drink because you want to feel happy.”

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“Rosé is a wine that brings joy to people, so sales have stayed strong during the lockdown, as people are relaxing with a glass in their gardens and taking rosé with them on picnics,” says British-born, Provence-based Stephen Cronk, who is enjoying stonking success with his off-trade focused Mirabeau brand, which has grown to become the best-selling Provence wine brand in the UK thanks to a strong presence at retailers like Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Majestic.

Lucy Shaw, The Drinks Business

Cronk sells 40% of his wine in the UK, but has recently taken pride in introducing sceptical French locals to the delights of canned rosé. “We have a wine bar in our village where our cans are on sale. The locals turned their noses up initially, but we get around it by pouring them a glass and showing them the can afterwards. The French are still not happy with screwcaps, so going from corks to cans is quite a leap,” Cronk admits.

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