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Poll: Sales of East Anglian rosé wine on the rise - are you a fan?

18:45 02 September 2014

Linda Houghton and Owen Greenard

Linda Houghton and Owen Greenard

Connoisseurs once dismissed its sickly sweet taste.

It was the cheap bottle of plonk for quaffing in the sunshine, not the sophisticated vintage for impressing dinner party guests.

But now that’s all changed - rosé wine is the in vogue variety, praised by critics, stocked by top restaurants and enjoying soaring sales across the globe.

And in Suffolk, the county’s wine producers are tickled pink by the growing popularity.

Les Jarrett, owner of Shawsgate Vineyard near Framlingham, said the company’s rosé varieties were now one of its most popular.

Pictured is Linda Houghton.Pictured is Linda Houghton.

“This year’s rose is selling very well,” he added.

“We are finding the drier rosés are becoming more popular and, alongside our Bacchus dry and Pandora medium whites, are now our third best seller.

“We also find that our wine making customers at other vineyards across East Anglia are echoing this trend by having more rosé made for them.

“Our sparkling rosé has just sold out and we aim to bring forward another vintage in our shop at the vineyard to keep up with demand.”

Shawsgate Vineyard staff preparing the crop for harvest.Shawsgate Vineyard staff preparing the crop for harvest.

With rosé wines succeeding in shorter summer growing seasons than required by full-bodied reds, for example, Mr Jarrett said it also made climatic sense to specialise in such varieties.

“As a producer we thought why struggle with full bodied reds when the season is too short, whereas rosé fits with the English climate,” he added.

Retailers in East Anglia have also noticed changes in consumer habits, which they say has made producers pay attention.

Mark Cronshaw, director of sales and marketing at The Wine Company in Colchester said rosé was no longer the “sweet horrible stuff for glugging when the sun comes out” but had become a respected variety alongside reds and whites.

“Now we are seeing customers coming in for a case of rosé not just in the summer months but all year round,” he said,

“Producers are noticing what’s popular with consumers and paying more attention to rosé, whereas previously it seemed more of an after thought.”

The company, which recently opened Wheelers Wine Cellar in Dedham, specialises in fine wines from across the globe, including several from East Anglia.

Mr Crownshaw said the rosé produced by New Hall Vineyards near Chelmsford was of a quality to rival those produced in Provence, France, which has traditionally been the home of top end rosés.

“The production in England over the last two or three years has really risen immensely,” he added.

And with this year’s harvest shaping up well for the 2014 vintage, hopes are high for another quality year for East Anglian rosés.

“The future’s bright, the future’s pink,” said Mr Jarrett.

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