Whispering Angel Paves The Way For Year Round Rosé

It’s the age of rose.

Over the course of a decade, rosé has increasingly become a go-to wine. With its flirty pink hue and effervescent, summer-y attitude, rosé lent itself naturally to the Instagram aesthetic and, for the first time ever, brands were getting playful in their marketing of wine. Who could forget New York City’s summer of Froze, or the 2015 social media spectacle that was the launch of White Girl rosé?

The result has been hockey stick growth, a market explosion. Rosé sales grew by 118% from 2015-2020, and they’re expected to increase another 70% by 2024, according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.

And as the cliche goes, while a rising tide lifts all ships, there’s one brand that has ridden the wave faster and further than the rest. Whispering Angel, from Château d’Esclans, has captured 65% value share in the premium rosé category and maintained a steady stronghold on the market since its 2006 launch. A slowdown doesn’t appear to be happening anytime soon: the company saw its highest sales ever this June.

According to Paul Chevalier, VP of Chateau d’Esclans, 50-60% of Whispering Angel’s sales happen between Memorial Day to Labor Day – a number that’s consistent with the rest of the industry. In July 2022, the company sold 20% of its annual harvest in just 30 days. Unsurprisingly, Florida and California, both synonymous with endless summer, accounts for two of its three top markets. Florida, in particular, which saw a wave of newly minted residents in the wake of the pandemic, has been huge, helping make Whispering Angel the top-selling French wine in the United States.

So where does the industry – and Whispering Angel – go from here? Chevalier says that growth will be based on the idea of 365 Days of Rosé. “My focus is to bust the perception that rosé is just for summer sipping,” he says.

Rosé’s strong seasonal lean pre-dates social media. July to August was the peak tourist season in Provence, when travelers from across Europe would visit the region and its rosé grape vineyards. The liquid’s summer association bloomed from there.

Of course, now rosé’s appeal reaches far beyond Europe. Whispering Angel is the top-selling Provence-style rosé in the world, and the world’s top French wine. It’s available in 100 countries, and sells 1 million cases annually worldwide – 500,000 cases in the United States alone.

On its way to capturing the year-round calendar, Chevalier says that the brand is focused on the holidays: Easter, Mother’s Day, Christmas, Valentine’s Day. Anything synonymous with rosy romance, elegant entertaining, or festive gatherings. They even created a custom bottle for Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee in 2022.

The white space between summers and holidays is what every rosé brand is investing in. To stretch rose’s appeal across the calendar, Chevalier says people will need to start perceiving rosé as a versatile and acceptable pairing wine that can elevate a meal.

The current perception of rose is similar to a prosecco: almost an aperitif. It’s sipped before dinner, with cheese or light bites, and subbed out for the big guns come meal time. In reality, there are many virtues to a Provence rosé, and it pairs well with many dishes.

Bone dry, and using Grenache grapes, Whispering Angel starts like a white wine but finishes like a red, and enhances anything from salads to seafood— even eggs and pancakes. Chevalier describes this as a “rosé revolution”.

In the coming months, watch for brands leaning into that white space. From après-ski rosé to after work rosé, brands will be looking to place the wine in unexpected settings and contexts. “It’s meant to be paired with all of life’s moments – both celebratory and the everyday,” says Chevalier.

As an added point, travelers in Provence can taste Whispering Angel at the winery where it’s produced. They are welcome to the property for a private, immersive tour through the cellars of Château d’Esclans. The finish to the experience— of course— is a glass of rose.

Château d’Esclans tours must be requested in advance and can be booked by emailing chateaudesclans@chateaudesclans.com.

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