The latest Nielsen figures show that sales of rosé have gone up by 29 per cent in the past year, but our straw poll of independent wine merchants has shown that this sector of the market is doing even better.

Average out the growth reported by our respondents and the picture is of a category with sales up 47.5 per cent on the previous year.

Another finding is that consumers aren't particular about where their rosé comes from. Best-selling lines at various merchants come from

an array of sources such as the south of France

or Argentina. It seems if it's pink, it's popular.

Charlie Stanley-Evans, Haynes Hanson & Clark, Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire

10 per cent

"Sales of rosé have been consistently high for the last four to five years, so we haven't seen a particular rise in the past year. Our retail customers tend to buy it between April and September and it helps with the warm weather. For us, it is certainly weather-dependent."

Peter Ballantyne, Ballantyne's Wine Merchants, Cardiff 10 per cent

"I'd say our sales of rosé have increased over the past five years. We now stock eight whereas five years ago we stocked one. It is the perfect summer drink. For somebody who drinks red wine throughout the year, this is an easy way for them to move on to something lighter without going to white."

David Potez, The Grape Shop, London 10 per cent

"It's moved up over the past three years for us. We have always been very strong on rosé, so we were somewhat ahead of the crowd. Our biggest-selling rosé sells for £8.99, which tells you something about the quality."

Ralph Needham, H Needham & Sons, Sevenoaks, Kent 15 per cent

"It depends on the weather. So we sell more in the summer, but we have seen a definite increase. Our wines come from France, Chile and Spain and have an average price of £5."

Bill Creighton, Hedley Wright Wine Merchants, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire 20 per cent

"We started seeing an increase in 2003, which was the first time people started coming in to us asking if we had rosé rather than us saying 'have you tried this rosé?'. Then, we stocked four to five lines, but it's gone up to about 12 to 18 now, which range in price from £4.49 to £13. We stock them from all over, but an Argentin ian one is doing well at the moment and a couple of French rosés are doing very well."

Michael Boniface, Flying Corkscrew, Hemel Hempstead 25 per cent

"We have always sold a fair bit of rosé and in the last couple of years it has increased. We have about 20 lines in stock at any one time from all over the world."

Una Keenan, The Noble Grape, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland 35 per cent

"They're not as sweet as they used to be which is why I think they are selling more. We sell a Chilean rosé called Frontera which is very nice and very popular, but then there are some good Spanish ones as well."

Tim Marriott, Taste Fine Wines, Huddersfield 50 per cent

"We have seen sales go up in the last 12 months, especially around the summer. It's

popular . Even the blokes are drinking it now, where traditionally it was seen as a lady's drink, so it's definitely a new trend. We sell rosé from France to the New World, but we do

well with an Argentinian Merlot rosé called Goyenechea [£5.99 retail]."

Mike Farmer, Wessex Wines, Bridport, Dorset 100 per cent

"There is much more interest in rosé now and people positively come in asking for it. I have doubled the amount of rosé I stock since the beginning of last year and now stock six different ones


David Henderson, Henderson Wines, Edinburgh 200 per cent

"In the past two years they have gone up and up. There is demand from the public, but every producer going is also making rosé now, so there is a much bigger range available. For the summer months I have two dozen different rosé wines in stock whereas I might have had two different wines two years ago."