Because no one did, and it’s an insult to those of us who drink pink to claim we needed someone to point the way
This fall, three different PR flacks emailed me to make sure the world knew that their clients started the rose boom. And this doesn’t include the woman who wrote that social media was responsible – praise Instagram for all those hipsters and Millennials posing with their pink wine.
Why do we need “a founder” to explain the popularity of quality cheap wine? Why is everyone so surprised that wine drinkers discovered something inexpensive and enjoyable on their own?
Because, of course, wine drinkers aren’t supposed to be smart enough to figure it out for themselves. We need someone to tell us what to do. Isn’t that how the wine business works?
Know this, and know it now: Rose’s increased popularity was only surprising to everyone who wasn’t paying attention. Europeans have been drinking it for years, without any help from marketing types or social media gurus. The wine business and its allies in the Winestream Media were so busy telling us that we would be drinking whatever wine that they thought was cool that they didn’t notice what we were drinking.
And why not? It’s readily available. It’s almost always well made, even when it costs as little as $5 a bottle, and it’s rarely necessary to spend more than $10 a bottle to get a quality wine. Plus, it’s crisp, refreshing, and fruity. What more can anyone ask for in a cheap wine to enjoy on a Tuesday night in the middle of summer?
So why was rose such a surprise? Three reasons:
• U.S. wine drinkers weren’t supposed to be sophisticated enough to drink rose, because it was so European. After all, didn’t we – shudder – drink white zinfandel?
• Rose, because it doesn’t cost much, didn’t fit in with premiumization, the idea that we’re buying more expensive wine. So it wasn’t pricey enough to become a trend.
• It is a wonderfully exhilarating exception to what the wine business teaches consumers about wine: That we have to buy wine to pair with a meal or for a specific occasion. That rose exists regardless of what you eat with it or why you drink it is a revolutionary concept in the top-down, do what you’re told world of wine. This is, after all, where those of us who tell people to drink what they want are seen as the enemy.
So, no, no one invented rose. We drank it because we liked it. In the end, that may be the best part about the rose boom.
More about the rose boom:
• They’re trying to ruin our beloved rose
• The Wine Curmudgeon as hipster: Dude, he likes rose
• Has the rose craze peaked?