Wine still in the pink but only thanks to rosé sales

Rosé is still the driving force in the UK wine market, growing at just under 30% compared to 6% for the off-trade light wine market overall, the latest Nielsen figures have revealed.

Pink wines beat the bad summer weather to reach £453 million sales in the year to February, with peaks in September, Christmas and Valentine's Day.

They now make up 10% of the UK still wine market by volume, up from 8% in 2006 and more than double the 4.9% share they had in 2005.

Nielsen analyst Stewart Blunt said: "Rosé wines now account for one in every 10 bottles of the 96 million-case market - up 4% - and if it weren't there the market would have only modest growth."

The US

pioneered the rosé phenomenon, and still makes up half of all volume sales, a slight drop from 52.2% in the year to February 2007.

This year the New World outside California seems to have finally cottoned on to the pink boom. Chile notably grew its share of the market to 5% from 3.1% the year before, and Concha y Toro's Isla Negra stormed into

eighth place in the top 10 off-trade rosé brands.

France and Portugal both lost share of the market, but Australia, South Africa, Argentina and New Zealand edged up.

The top three rosé brands remained the same - Gallo, Blossom Hill and Echo Falls.

Stowells and First Cape joined Isla Negra among the new entries.

A third of all rosé wines are blends; Zinfandel and Grenache are the most popular grapes for pinks; and Shiraz, Merlot and Pinot Grigio are gaining ground in a growing number of varietal wines.

Average rosé bottle prices across all sizes are £3.93, the same as white wine and slightly lower than red.

Rosé feature - page 21.