The Rosé Trend Might Be Over, But Pink Wine Is Far From Dead

Photographed by Beth Sacca.
"I'm still crazy about rosé," Jasmine, 27, recently told Refinery29. "I love the aroma, the dry semi-sweetness, and how it looks against the sun going down..." Although the rosé trend started gaining traction way back in 2014, young peoples' loyalty to the pink wine is unwavering. "I'm still an intense lover of rosé," Kat, 23, explains. "One of my best friends and I wait patiently every year for Wölffer Estate Summer in a Bottle and live for drinking it whenever we can. I do drink rosé pretty much year-round, but every time summer hits I feel like I get more excited about not just drinking rosé but also the aesthetic surrounding it. Like being on a rooftop with my friends on a beautiful day drinking rosé or being at the beach together."
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In the five years since rosé become a dominant warm-weather force for the alcohol industry, other trends have come and gone, but a steadfast love for rosé is reflected in its sales. The Aperol spritz has been the trendy summer drink of choice for two summers in a row, and hard seltzer growth rates have been on the rise, according to Nielsen, but rosé sales continue to climb year over year. "In the first half of this year, rosé accounted for 9% of total wine sales, compared to 8% in 2018 and 7% in 2017," a representative for Drizly, one of the world's largest alcohol e-commerce sites, explains. Likewise, Michael Osborn, the founder of Wine.com, shared that rosé popularity is still on the rise for the San Francisco-based online wine retailer. "The U.S. was a little later than Europe in the adoption of dry-rosé, and so we're still likely to see high growth rates for years," he says. "In our trailing twelve months, through June 30, 2019, rosé is growing 25%." Doug Bell, global wine buyer for Whole Foods Market, also tells us that Whole Foods' rosé sales remain strong and there are no hints of it slowing down.
Despite rosé sales being high, and all of the consumers who still identify as hardcore fans, the mainstream attitude around the wine isn't quite the same as it has been in summers past. There was a time, not so long ago, when people with seemingly good taste got genuinely excited to try rosé-flavored marshmallows and beachgoers all over the country could be seen sporting baseball caps adorned with the image of a glass of pink wine. During this period, too, Yes Way Rosé and Rosé All Day, both lifestyle brands capitalizing on the joyful essence of pink wine and its popularity, were created. Rosé mania, which peaked during the summer of 2017, had a good run, but the extreme trendiness of rosé has dwindled. Now, rosé is just another summertime staple like beer, watermelon, or grilling hot dogs on a scorching day.
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Fans might not be donning full rosé all day-themed outfits anymore, but they're not just buying bottles, either. Restaurants across the country continue to offer frosé on their menus three full years after Bon Appetit first published a recipe for the wine slushie. Yelp recently released its findings on the biggest summer drinks of 2019, and the directory service found that frosé and rosé remain popular, particularly in the South. It also discovered that rosé cider is big in Pittsburgh, Nashville, and Cleveland.
Within the rosé category, the canned wine trend has also grown. According to data from Drizly, canned wine only accounts for a 1% share of total wine sales, but it accounts for a 2% share of total rosé sales. "We've found it to be particularly popular in this category, likely given the warm weather occasions in which rosé is often taking center stage — we presume these are often happenings that call for portable drinks," a Drizly rep explains.
"When you talk about the total alcohol category across beer, wine, and spirits, there are so many segments that are near-flat and pretty slow and sluggish, and rosé is on that opposite extreme where it's still growing double digits within the world of any consumer goods," Danelle Kosmal, vice president of Beverage Alcohol Practice at Nielsen tells Refinery29. "If we look at the latest 52 weeks — so the last year, ending June 15, 2019 — rosé is still up 27%."
While rosé was up 27% in the 52 weeks from June 2018 to June 2019, Kosmal points out that it was up 44% during the 52 weeks from June 2017 to 2018, so growth has begun to decelerate. "We think that rosé hit its peak last summer, and we'll see that slow and that growth level off now, she says. "We are starting to see it within the more recent time period...In the four weeks ending June 15, rosé growth was 7%."
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There are people who got swept up in the #RosèAllDay lifestyle because of their love for the wine, but it turns out there are also plenty of folks who discovered the drink through the wave of rosè lifestyle branding that blew up in summers past. "I'm not too crazy with the rosé all day lifestyle," Tamiracle, 23, says. While the lifestyle trend initially introduced her to the beverage, her priorities with regard to the wine have since changed. "I choose to drink rosé because it's readily available at different stores for a reasonable price point," she says. Jessica, 29, too, tells us, "I think I got into the hype mostly because it was so heavily promoted and not necessarily because it was more sophisticated or drinkable than any other alcohol."
The rosé trend has mostly fallen away, and now, we're left with a more measured level of love for the drink itself. In other words, rosé is no longer a trend at all, it's just an essential part of summer. And maybe that's how it should be. Bailey, 23, seems to think so. "Rosé is, in my humble opinion, overrated. A good wine? Perhaps. A reason for themed t-shirts and hats and lifestyles? I think not."

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