We do drink pink drinks. In fact, nowadays there are a number of pink drinks that are even considered quite serious – commanding equally serious price tags. An increasing number of South African wine producers are looking at innovative ways to distinguish their rosés from the ocean of pink plonk.

Article by Edo Heyns from Wineland

Looking at the significant increase in sales in the early 2000s, it would not be too far-fetched to say that rosé has been the wine category of the decade. Often outperforming both red and white wine based on volume sales, the upsurge in rosé sales was largely driven by the popularity of cheap and cheerful wines, that were eagerly chucked back by Britons whenever they saw the sun. This fashionable drink, however, also gained favour in the USA and Germany – boosting the demand in the world’s most influential wine markets. The local market showed a similar trend, with bottled rosé sales increasing from just below 4.5 million litres in 2006 to more than 7.6 million litres in 2011.

Many wineries hopped onto the pink band wagon by adding a rosé to their product offering – often using poorer vineyards to make a quick buck. Vergelegen’s André van Rensburg even recons that you can identify leaf roll at a winery, by asking if they produce rosé …

But, while Nielsen reported a dip in rosé volume sold in 2011, the value of rosé sales maintained an upward curve, suggesting a loss at the lower end of the rosé market and a rise in the average price of rosé. Whether the price increases coincided with improved quality is debatable, but at least a handful of pink pioneers are pushing the envelope to carve out a market for rosés that raise the bar above the commodity-like commercialism, that typifies most of these wines.

Premium rosé is not a new concept, with top French wineries like Domaines Ott setting the benchmark when it comes to building sought-after brands that are known for their elegant onion skin colour and complementing versatility with food …