The word “rosé” may conjure up memories of cheap wine from boxes or bottles with screw caps. It used to be sweet, cheap and often passed over by serious wine drinkers. Today, rosé has become as much a lifestyle as it is a wine. Perhaps it’s the vibrant pink color or the change in the way rosé is produced, either way millennials are devoted to the beverage, creating hashtags, blogs and even playlists dedicated to the rosé experience.
Laura Maniec is a master sommelier and co-owner of Corkbuzz Restaurant & Wine Bar located in NYC and Charlotte. She joins guest host Anita Rao to talk about the history of rosé, why it had a bad reputation and why millenials are crazy for it today.
Young professionals have essentially rebranded rosé by taking a product which once had strong negative associations and turning it into a multi-million dollar craze. Martin Buchanan is creative director at Trone Brand Energy, a branding and digital agency in High Point and Durham. He joins the discussion to share the unique challenge of appealing to millennials and the tricks to branding and rebranding for this new generation of consumers.
Laura Maniec on the history of rosé:
They say that the first wines were actually rosé. Ancient Greeks would make field blends of both red grapes and white grapes prior to separating them. And they would actually dilute the wine with water … It’s been around for a long time.
Maniec on how rosé got a bad reputation:
I think it was really the popularity of brands like Lancers becoming this oft dry and or very sweet style of wine that was pink. And that really made it popular in the ‘70s but then as people started developing a palette for dryer styles of wine then it was looked down upon as an inferior, unsophisticated wine from our grandparents.
Maniec on why the popularity of rosé has exploded:
I love rosé, so I’d like to think that it’s because it’s somewhere between a white wine and a red wine. And that people really love the refreshing nature of a white, but perhaps want a little more flavor and in some cases texture via tannins.
Maniec on rosé as a lifestyle:
It started seeing real popularity in places like the Hamptons and the Mediterranean and Provence like right around Marseilles where it was associated with a lifestyle of summer and boating and yachting.
Martin Buchanan on the surge in rosé from a marketing perspective:
I don’t think there was a concerted marketing effort by a large group ... They [millennials] take to social media and they promote themselves. … They find this rosé. Nobody’s drinking it. Let me try that. It’s pink. I makes a great photograph. I’ll post it on Instagram and pop there goes the color making their feed look great. And then someone else says, ‘Hey, I’ll do that too.’
Buchanan on the trick to branding to millennials:
Millennials like brands that have a reason other than “I want to sell you a product” to get behind ... You see that across every category. Whole entire categories created around “let’s do good” … Those kind of causes are easy to get behind and it’s clear to say millennials want this world to be a better place.