The Rosé Wars

As opposed to the war of the roses.

Rose wine is big business. And one reason it is big business is that it is hip, and can be made almost ok on a very low budget.  I am talking about “bulk rosé”. Victoria James explains

When I say “bulk,” I mean rosé that might be made from rotten or low-quality grapes, underripe fruit, or red wine by-products. It relies on mass-produced laboratory yeast that’s advertised as “full bodied, fruit/lush blush wines, to enhance white country fruit and flower in wines.” (Yeast not only converts sugar to alcohol but also contributes to the final flavors. These commercial yeast strains attempt to mask subpar grapes by adding unnatural aromas to the wine and speeding along fermentation.) Bulk wine is often treated like a lab formula, with chemicals, dyes, and additives that chase that desired light salmon color. Since an ingredient list isn’t required on wine labels, the average shopper might not realize that their go-to grocery store wine has up to 75 ingredients other than grapes. These wines come from huge swaths of land, particularly in California and Provence, with “terroir” barely suitable for even vegetables. Bulk wines—and there are hundreds of them—are owned by large companies with deep pockets, with big marketing budgets. Money is channeled away from the high-quality grape production and toward massive advertising campaigns coupled with paid inclusion on hot restaurant menus.

How are these sold? Check out Victoria’s article. It is a bit of an eye opener. And how do the bulk sellers get away with it if the wine is inferior? When it is served ice cold, with loud music in the background in a crowed bar, it passes.

BTW, if bars and restaurants would pass on the cost savings by selling this stuff, I would not mind that much. It does rankle when they don’t.


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