We continue our summer-long look at the opportunities for developing rosé sales, in partnership with Castel Frères, by talking to individual merchants and on-trade distributors about what trends they are seeing within the rosé category and what restaurants are looking for. First up is Matthew Hennings, managing director, of the family wholesale business, Hennings Wine Merchants.
Considering the number of column inches that have been written already this summer about rosé it seems to have captured the imagination of our national press and the nation’s average wine drinker. But what are wine distributors selling? Matthew Hennings takes a close look at his rosé sales.
How are your overall sales to date for the year?
They have got off to a great start, and are showing good growth across all parts of the business so far.
What are the big growth areas?
Provence Rosé just keeps going from strength to strength. We now stock more than a dozen different wines and what is particularly interesting is how well different sized formats do with rosé. So our range covers a number of different formats as well.
How do rosé wines sales compare to other categories/styles of wine in terms of sales?
It is quite unique as there are large volume sales right from entry level VDP and PG Rosé, right through the range. We so are seeing a lot of demand and sales of mid-priced Provence rosé up to good sales for £30 bottles.
Are you doing anything specific to promote your rosé range during the summer. If so what?
Yes, we are looking at different types of activity. We are, for example, working with some of our producers to promote a range of Provence wines from around entry level of £9-10 up to more versatile wines that go with food over £20 per bottle. We have found this to be a very effective way of getting behind rosé an it is working very well for us.
Which styles of rosé are doing well for you? Why do you think that is?
We are seeing the biggest traction in what we would call premium entry level. Rosé wines at between £10-15 pounds are doing really well. They seem to resonate on all sides of our business. For a start we sell those kind of wines in good volume through our shops. Then we are working well with our on-trade customers to all sell great volumes of rosé to sell by the glass.
How is Provence rosé doing in particular and why?
Provence rosé is showing great growth for us at all price points. We have already sold well over 8,000 bottles in the last four months at varying price points and sizes and in different formats.
What sort of price points are working best for rosé overall?
Apart from a few of the sought after £20 plus wines, the sweet spot is around £8-£15 pounds with good quality VDP and then moving in to Provence. One of our Provence lines has recently taken over far less expensive ones in our range to become the number one seller by volume. It seems people are far keener to trade up with rosé in the on-trade than with white or red wines.
And which price points are working well for Provence rosé?
Starting at around £9 and then right the way up to £30 per bottle. It amazes me how much of the more premium wines we sell, mainly on retail. But there is also big volume for both on and off-trade rosé sales around the £10 mark.
Is bottle shape important for rosé sales? If so what sort of bottles do you prefer to buy?
Yes, it is very clear that customer are attracted by different shaped bottles. But it is also the whole presentation that is important, and, of course, the colour. It has to look good, in the fluted bottles or something that really stands out with a good label.
What are you most looking for when looking to list a new rosé?
Once we have established it looks and tastes good and is value for money, it is all about channel management and logistics. Then we look at who else is selling that particular wine, or if anyone is at all. Then we would look to see if we could ship it direct.
Any other general comments about rosé?
Whilst we sell good quantities of rosé throughout the year, particularly around April and May, when the sun starts to come out more, it is like flicking a switch. You go from selling good quantities to massive quantities overnight. This is why working with someone who has a great logistic solution is so important because we all want it “yesterday”.
- You can find out more about Matthew Hennings and the family wine wholesaler and independent retail business, Hennings Wine, here.
- This is the latest in a series of articles on The Buyer throughout the summer, that we are running in partnership with Castel Frères, looking at different aspects of the rosé category and how different operators can maximise their sales.