At the Denver-based Sage Restaurant Group, “We have seen an uptick in sparkling rosé—a trend that has been picking up steam over the past few years,” says beverage director Brandon Wise. The casual-dining company operates a diverse portfolio of 10 units in a number of markets.
Accordingly, Wise has upped the options, with several by-the-glass sparkling rosés, such as domestics from Gruet and Chandon, French Cremants and some Champagnes. There are at least two selling opportunities for sparkling wine, says Wise: “It’s the perfect way to start the dining experience, and a great way to finish—lovely with dessert.”
The Bubbly Mermaid has also found that “rosé Champagne sells really well here,” concurs Naff. The pretty salmon color of the wines attracts attention and me-too sales.
Stats bear that out. Rosé wines, according to Nielsen, increased 14.4% to total nearly $90 million in the 52 weeks that ended in January 2015. Among them, French rosé wines, which account for roughly a third of the category, increased 52% in that same time period.
Consumers associate rosé wines with an affluent lifestyle, and since wines are seen as an affordable luxury, demand is increasing, according to Beverage Information Group’s Wine Handbook.
Grower is Growing
Although Grower Champagne represents just a fraction of its output, interest is on the rise among aficionados. While the big Champagne houses source grapes from many different vineyards to create a house style, Grower Champagnes are produced by independent estates who make wine from their own vineyards. They can be identified by RM (meaning Recoltant Manipulant) on the label.
“Grower Champagne is definitely making a big stance right now,” says Daniel Grajewski, director of beverage for the San Francisco-based Mina Group, with 17 different concepts and 27 restaurants. “The grower is also the winemaker as well, so there is more control over the product,” he explains.
What’s more, Grajewski says, “Grower Champagnes are fantastic and an incredible value compared to the wines that the big names are putting out.” That price-value has attracted consumer interest.
“We’ve been seeing more Grower Champagnes on the market; that’s a trend,” concurs Wise.