Here at Wunderfy, we’re wine drinkers, wine lovers and amateur wine connoisseurs. Something that’s been on our radar lately is rosé.
At one time a vintner’s afterthought, or a “wine for the palate-less,” rosé has gone from a pale pink novelty to a nearly $300 million market in just a few years. Who’s buying the stuff? Millennials. And they’re buying a lot of it.
Rosé is now more than a beverage it’s a movement. Just look at the number of brands whose sole focus is the pale pink delicacy: Charles & Charles’ Rosé, Gerard Betrand Côte des Roses Rosé, and Underwood Rosé, to name a few (here’s a Vivino list of top-rated rosés). Even celebrities are joining in. Bon Jovi’s son Jesse Bongiovi released his rosé brand earlier this year, and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have their popular Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé.
So why are people so obsessed with it? It’s not the taste. Compared to most reds and whites, rosé wines have a super light body, with vague hints of citrus or berries. Really, it’s like a dry white mixed with water. While this does makes it an easy drink, and therefore a top choice for a Millennial’s coming-of-age“starter wine,” it’s still not the nose or the taste that has started the craze. It’s the visual: rosé looks damn good on social media.
“Millennial pink” is a shade of light pink that has taken over product marketing for the past few years. (Here’s more on that). Rosé fits right into that aesthetic, plus its alcohol another thing Millennials love to take pictures with. So naturally, a slew of Instagram posts featuring the pretty pink drink has turned into a series of Instagram accounts solely dedicated to posting glossy images of rosé in its natural habitat. And some of those accounts have even turned into brands, which now produce their own lines of wine.
Yeah, that escalated quickly.
The beverage is a hallmark of current pop-culture terms and ideologies. It’s a beacon of “basic” the term describing anything that’s so trendy it’s commonplace (and yet still trendy). It’s a gender icon, since pink is the color of the gender equality movement. It fits in as easily with a fancy dinner party as with a college frat party. And it’s fancy, but not so high class that you can’t put it in a pouch and drink it with a straw.
La Vie en Rosé
What some would call a cult following, we choose to call a passion brand. While not a brand on its own, pink wine has made it remarkably easy for rosé-oriented companies to become passion brands. Here’s how:
- They’re birthed into an already activated community.
Rule one of a passion brand is that you’ve created something you love and your audience loves it, too. It aligns with their values, lifestyle choices and beliefs. Rosé drinkers have already created a community of like-mindedness through social media, which has organically strengthened itself through constant reinforcement (posts) of how much everyone else in the community still loves the stuff. Therefore, any brand entering this space with a product that aligns with community will surely be met with a resounding, “Yaaaas.”
- Their target customers are easy to identify and therefore easy to connect with.
Rosé drinkers generally have no shame showing their product and brand affinity online. Using hashtags and basic search terms on social media, marketers can effortlessly identify thousands of people who enjoy rosé — plenty of subjects to build a brand persona. With easy identification comes easy targeting — brands can study exactly what the people want in order to communicate with them and continuously create products they’ll love.
- They promote a lifestyle that people want to have.
Again, a simple Instagram search will paint you a portrait of the rosé lifestyle. It’s laidback, carefree, sociable, self-loving, and agreeable. It says things like, “Wine is my favorite meal of the day” and aligns with movies like Clueless and Mean Girls. People fiend after this lifestyle, and the numbers show that posts that mirror this way of living constantly receive high volumes of likes and comments. It’s what the people want.
- The appeal is international.
By appealing to a lifestyle and psychographic, not a demographic, the appeal of these rosé-centered brands can span age ranges, genders and nationalities. A true passion brand has no limit.
Rosé wine is a powerful example of a product that has become something much more than tangible item. It’s an emblem people are passionate about, identify with, and can rally around.
What companies can take away from this is the challenge of creating a lifestyle around their product that can appeal to all kinds of people. Maybe it’s connecting the dots between and existing product and an existing community, instead of trying to create one. With passion brands, it’s not about just selling anymore — it’s about generating a cult.