Sparkling wine sales have producers in a fizz

25 June, 2009

Producers of sparkling rosé are preparing for a sales boom

Producers of sparkling rosé are preparing for a sales boom, according to exhibitors at Vinexpo, the world’s biggest wine and spirit fair. The burgeoning pink fizz business is the talk of the exhibition, according to the organisers.

A seminar on sparkling wine was held at the exhibition’s conference hall yesterday (June 24).

Tony Rasselet, general manager of H. Blin, a cooperative Champagne maker, said that sales of pink champagne have risen by 25% over the last five years and he expects them to continue to rise at a similar rate for the next five years.

Champagne house Nicolas Feuillatte has launched at Vinexpo a premium vintage pink champagne called Cuvèe 225 which is aged in oak. It joins a range of three other pink Champagnes. The company claims it is in response to international demand from the UK and Germany.

Anne Lubert, head of marketing for French wine producer Yvon Mau, which is owned by major Spanish cava producer, Freixenet, said that that sales of sparkling rosè will rise in the next two years from 20 per cent of all sales to 30 per cent. She pointed out that pink sparkling wine gets a higher margin in the retail trade because consumers perceive it is more expensive.

In Provence, perceived as the traditional home of rosè wine, producers have set up a research centre to test new ways of making sparkling wine using local grapes such as Morvedre and Grenache.

President of the centre, Alain Combard, owner of rosè maker Saint Andrè Figuiere, said he will launch a sparkling rosè in October using a method similar to the methode traditionelle, but using grape must instead of the more common sugar yeast dosage.

The wine is being tested this summer with different packaging styles. When ready the company will target France first, followed by Germany, Benelux, Switzerland and the UK.

Pink fizz is one beneficiary of a general upturn in a marked consumer preference for sparkling alcoholic drinks. The downturn in Champagne sales due to the economic situation has also thrust attention on alternatives.