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Richard Siddle comment June 12

Published:  16 June, 2009

Whether you bothered to vote in their elections or not, the workings of the European Union have been very much front page news this week.

None more so than in the wine sector with the surprise U-turn by Eurocrats over its proposed move to turn the world of rosé producers on its head and lift the ban on adding white wine to red to make rosé.

It was largely seen as its cunning ploy to somehow help partly drain its ever growing wine lake, but, as ever, did not take into account the full force of fury its proposals raised amongst French winemakers.

The sabre rattling has, for once, worked and the climbdown this week certainly resulted in a fair few celebrations in wineries in Provence and along the Cote D'Azur. Now French winemakers caught up in a protest is not normally enough for the European Union to see sense, but let's applaud our friends in Brussels - and Strasbourg - for making the right decisions when they do.

The upshot of all these Euro-shenanigans is that bona fide rosé producers now have a great opportunity to really push on and distinguish itself as a separate category from all the cheap, pink blush on supermarket shelves. Now we in the trade may know they are different types of wine, but does the consumer? Basically, for them, it is all pink wine you buy on a summer's night to go and drink in the garden with some mates.

The fact that one descends from the Romans and is one of the oldest styles of winemaking around is not going to cut the mustard when faced with a three for £10 offer from California. 

The rosé phenomenon has been and gone. This is no longer a summer craze to hook on to but a serious mega-million category in its own right. The challenge now is for the serious rosé players to make the most of what they have got and start pushing prices as well as quality and leave their pink and blush competitors from across the Atlantic and the rest of the New World very much in the shade.