While seen as old-fashioned in France, rosé wine is blossoming in the United States. Pierrick Bouquet spotted an opportunity in the wine’s growing success, and founded two popular events: La Nuit en Rosé, from May 18 until 20, and Pinknic, from June 24 until 25. The 34-year-old Parisian explains how rosé has become the “champagne of the millennials.”
France-Amérique: How did rosé become the star of American parties?
Pierrick Bouquet: The Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in France launched a major initiative to change the image of rosé wine. The Château d’Esclans wine estate and its owner, Sacha Lichine, have contributed so much over the last ten years. In the meantime, American-made rosé has also improved. It used to be sweet and barely paler than red wine, certainly no match for the rosé made on the Côte d’Azur. But American producers called on the services of French oenologists some five years ago, and learned Provençal winegrowing techniques. Thanks to their work, rosé in the United States now boasts a beautiful pastel color, and a light, fruity taste. Some American rosé wines now offer the same quality as their French counterparts.
Why do French rosés enjoy a more stylish image in the United State than in France?
You can find good rosés from the Languedoc-Roussillon region for between 11 and 15 euros in France. In New York, a nice bottle of French rosé costs between 30 and 35 dollars. In marketing, we call that a price positioning strategy: French rosés are expensive, which makes them chic. The Americans associate rosé wines from France with Provençal glamour. Côtes de Provence rosés sell very well here. The Whispering Angel vintage from the Château d’Esclans (Var département) was the best-selling French wine in the United States in 2016 (excluding champagnes and sparkling wines).
How did rosé become the central theme of your events in the United States?
Five years ago, we launched the La Nuit en Rosé food and wine festival, a cruise along the Hudson River during which our guests discovered rosé wines presented by sommeliers and chefs. New York opened its eyes to rosé. Our objective was educational, introducing the Americans to the diversity of rosé wines. They loved it, and it soon became trendy to drink rosé in restaurants and nightclubs. Rosé has become the champagne of the millennials — particularly of women in their 30s — who were tired of the red and white wines of previous generations. This year, La Nuit en Rosé will offer almost 125 types de rosé from nine different countries.
Has rosé just become a marketing tool?
No, but the surge in rosé consumption has led to the creation of a parallel industry that plays on the same codes. Last year we launched the first edition of Pinknic, a giant, pink-and-white-themed picnic held on Governors Island in New York. The idea was to create a festive event based on rosé wine by matching the drink with festival cuisine, ready-to-wear clothing stands and electro music. We welcomed 8,000 people in 2016, and we are expecting 12,000 this year. Products associated with and inspired by rosé are popping up everywhere. Two Californian women have created an Instagram account called @YesWayRosé, and have successfully generated a community of almost 40,000 people around rosé wine. They also sell pink products, including tank tops, baseball caps and “Eau de rosé” candles.
What are the latest rosé trends?
“Rosé Piscine” — set to be unveiled at La Nuit en Rosé this year — is a wine designed to keep its flavor even when served with ice. The La Grande Sieste vineyard recently started marketing rosé ice cubes, sold at €1.50 each and known as the “Rosé Stone.” An American couple have created a can of rosé christened “Una Lou” and boasting a contemporary design. And my team and I have just launched “Rosé S’il Vous Plaît,” a new range of cocktails made using rosé wine. Three different bottles will be available in June: Rosé Mimosa, Rosé Sangria and Rosé Bellini. We want to introduce Americans between the ages of 21 and 29 to the rosé concept by offering them cocktails they already know and love.
La Nuit en Rosé
From May 18 to 20, 2017
From June 24 to 25, 2017