Middleton joins rosé renaissance

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Canadians purchased the equivalent of 21.2 million bottles of rosé in 2016, four million more than they bought five years ago, according to data from U.K. researcher Euromonitor, wrote the Financial Post Aug. 23, 2017. The 7.4-per-cent growth in rosé sales in 2016 over 2015 handily outpaced the country’s 4.1-per-cent growth in overall wine consumption.

Alan MiddletonRosé has clearly entered the mainstream, enjoyed by people of all ages and genders, and the new drier, more complex varieties available have trumped its outdated image as a sickly sweet discount pick.

There was a previous attempt at reviving rosé about 10 years ago by re-branding it “blush wine.” But Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business in Toronto, points out it never took off for one simple reason: It was terrible.

“The only blush you got was from being seen drinking it,” he said. “The product didn’t really deliver.”

But like an aging pop star, rosé has now pulled off its improbable image makeover.

To find out how, we turn to the summer of 2014 in the Hamptons, the tony summer seaside destination for New York City’s elite. Rosé’s association with the Hamptons helps, too and Middleton was not surprised to learn the area was at the heart of the wine’s revival. “There’s a status-conscious society if there ever was one,” he said. “You’ve got to be seen to be on the leading edge – ‘Oh, you mean you haven’t tried this nice little rosé from Argentina?’”

Indeed, Middleton recently participated in a similar exchange at a dinner party, persuading his friends to overcome their skepticism and try the rosé he brought.


Alan Middleton is executive director of the Schulich Executive Education Centre and a marketing professor at the Schulich School of Business. He teaches in SEEC’s Masters Certificate in Marketing Communications program, beginning Sept. 27.

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