Millennials love rose so much they've warped the traditional wine market

Rose has become an all-year phenomenon.
Peter Meecham

Rose has become an all-year phenomenon.

Rose-drinking Millennials are warping the traditional wine market. 

They have made the trendy pink wine the fastest growing wine segment in the country and they are buying it heavily right through winter, destroying the idea it is only an Instagram-friendly summer tipple. 

Foodstuffs, which covers the Pak'NSave and New World, says rose sales have soared a whopping 150 per cent since 2014. Last year alone they rose 60 per cent.

Head of external relations Antoinette Laird says while rose sales do flatten a little in winter the overall sales in both North and South Islands are growing by 54 per cent annually.

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Rose covers a wide range from cheap and sweet to very sophisticated and intense.

Rose covers a wide range from cheap and sweet to very sophisticated and intense.


Just to show how significant that is, the second fastest growing wine is syrah/shiraz and that is rising at 14.3 per cent in the North Island.

Laird says rose is now close behind chardonnay in overall turnover in North Island New World stores. "Just three years ago it was tiny compared to other varietals."

Countdown liquor merchandise manager Tim Carroll says last summer 70 per cent more rose was sold compared to the previous year.

"What's particularly interesting is that even in the winter months, when we'd typically see people turn to the big, bold reds, we're seeing sales of rose up 40 per cent on this time last year, proving it really is a year-round popular choice."

Rose for sale in a French supermarket. We are just beginning to drink rosé  compared to overseas countries.

Rose for sale in a French supermarket. We are just beginning to drink rosé compared to overseas countries.

Carroll says Auckland is the hot spot for rose sales, though sales are soaring across the country.

"In some of our stores, we have doubled our rose range, Some stores now have more than 50 roses to choose from."

Carroll says rose attracts red and white drinkers and can be sweet to dry, which might help explain some of its popularity. "While it is targeted more towards females, lots of men are also loving rose . What is interesting is that lots of traditional sauvignon blanc drinkers are moving over to rose."

The top-selling Countdown rose is The Ned, which is mid-range in price and quality. It shows people are looking for more flavour from rose.

Cuisine gave it four stars in its recent rose tasting which had a record number of entries. The judges described it as: "Salmon pink with immediately seductive floral and red cherry scents, this wine has plenty of what is too often missing in Kiwi rose – energy. A steely textural edge gives it tension and length, providing a counterweight to the sweet fruit."

You know a wine is serious when they start running cheese matching sessions.

You know a wine is serious when they start running cheese matching sessions.

Despite all this, New Zealand is still only catching up to the rose boom that has swept the world. 

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A survey of rose consumption in 2015 by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine indicates of the total still wine drink in New Zealand, men drank 6 per cent of rose and women 8 per cent. 

This compares to Australia where it is 11 per cent each; France with 23 per cent and 25 respectively; United States with 17 per cent and 17 per cent. 

Millennials dominate Kiwi rose drinking, according to the report. Seventeen per cent of the still wine drunk by under-24s is rose . At 25-35 years it is about 11 per cent and at 35-44 years it drops to 6 per cent. 

Jim Harre chairs the New World Wine Awards judging panel and judges overseas.

He's seen a great increase in the demand for high quality rose in the UK and Europe and says we are now seeing it in New Zealand and producers are ramping up production.

"Most wines are focused on varietals, but rose is the only wine available in New Zealand that is not varietal-specific. Instead, it is style specific, as a combination of varietals can be used in creating it."


We asked five Millennials in Auckland what they like about rose.

Natalie Lisner
Former pinot gris drinker. "I was after something light for drinks in the sun that's a little stronger than cider. The taste: "It's light and summery, perfect to kick the night off with!" The look: "It's pink, need I say more?" Your go-to: "The Ned, it's worth the splurge."

Gabrielle de Jong
Former pinot gris and sauvignon blanc drinker. "Rose is light and refreshing, it's a good in-between drink, especially in summer.​ The look: "IT'S PINK and pretty!!!!​" Your go-to: "I like middle of the range $15-$20 on sale.​ My fav is Esk Valley."

Brittany Damon
Former sauvignon blanc drinker. "Rose is sweet, smooth and summery." The look: "The colour makes me so happy. It looks pretty enough to drink and makes you want to spam FB and Instagram with a pic to show off!" The trendiness: "Drinking it is like being part of the cool group at school". Your go-to: "I'm starting to move to better stuff, not too cheap, not too expensive."
Lani Smitty
Drinking "everything" before rose. The taste: "A sip of it takes me back to summertime." The look: "The colour is happiness to me". Your go-to: "My fav is Cable Bay Rose. Would drink cheaper, but enjoy the better stuff."

Alexander Maplesden   
Rose drinker in summer, pinot gris in winter. The taste: "Rose is full of flavour and vibrant like a red, but is still light and refreshing like a white, the best of both." The look: "I like the transparency and the colour tinge. A rose needs to be a bright and ripe colour, it can't be too dull."

 - Stuff


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