Rosé showers bring May flowers

The rush is on.

Containers are landing at a furious pace, and dry pink wine is being stacked high at wine shops coast to coast. Rosé features on wine lists become coveted spots, and it’s a boxing match between reps to get those placements.

When most wholesalers put together their rosé offerings into a sell sheet, they do the same and predictable thing: country or state or origin. And that’s fine because that’s how most people think about most wines.

The problem is that ‘country of origin’ is not how rosé is usually purchased today, especially by the end consumer. It’s a category where geography tends to matter less.

The most successful rosé sales at retail are about the mound of pink wine in the middle of the shop, where a big bold statement is made “the rosé has arrived!” and those shopping on that mound often don’t care about country of origin. They want good dry pink wine regardless of where it’s from. A good retailer knows it’s far more important with rosé to make a big physical and visual impact rather than fussy division based on where the wine came from.

Their customers, the end consumer, often wants to know about style, and without somebody to help them choose they pick via color and label (can you blame them?).

Conversely, for a restaurant buyer it’s often (after flavor and quality of course) about availability. Who else has it in town? Are all the restaurants in the neighborhood pouring it, or can they corner the market? Is the wholesaler protecting some exclusivity?

So organizing a rosé sell sheet by country is fine. But here are some other ways to do it:

By winemaking style: short skin maceration, vin gris, sanignee, or blend.

By color or implied flavor: light – medium – full. Dry and sharp to rich and savory. Pale salmon pink to robust deep purple. Think of how pretty that sheet or display could be.

By availability: ranking from least available to year-round availability. Or a separate list of “first come first served, this is all we get.”

As a wholesaler, don’t do what you’ve always done simply because it’s what you always do. Mix it up a bit. That’s how certain wholesalers break the mold and run free of the pack.

Here’s a good place to start on these ideas.

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