La Vie En Rosé: France Goes Crazy For Rosé Wine

Sales of rosé wine are growing so rapidly in France that the country is now the biggest producer, consumer and importer of rosé in the world, according to estimates by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) published by national daily Le Figaro.

Rosé sales account for more than 30 percent of the total wine sales in France, not including champagne—a huge rise from 16 percent in 2002. France produced 7.6 million hectoliters (Mhl) of rosé last year, according to the OIV—equating to more than a billion bottles—pulling ahead of Spain (5.5 Mhl), the United States (3.5 Mhl) and, Italy (2.5 Mhl). The four countries account for 80 percent of rosé production.

Italy overtook France as the world's top wine producer overall, with 48.9 Mhl in 2015, compared with France's 47.4 Mhl. The two are streets ahead of the other competition. Spain, who came third, produced 36.6 Mhl, while the U.S., who was in fourth place, produced less than half of either Italy and France with 22 Mhl.

When it comes to drinking rosé, however, France and the U.S. combined account for half of the global consumption. Jean-Marie Aurand, director of the OIV, says he believes that the pink drink has a broader appeal to groups who are not ardent wine drinkers.

"It attracts a more feminine clientele, often as a stepping stone to enjoying wine more," he told Le Figaro. Aurand also suggested that France's summer heatwave may have led to more people choosing to drink rosé as it is a "weather sensitive" wine.

France is so enthusiastic about the wine that its consumption outstrips its own production—it accounts for 28 percent of global rosé imports.