In many countries, the consumption of still wine is in strong decline. The market for rose wine, however, stands in stark contrast to this trend, seeing worldwide growth of almost 30% over the last 15 years. For most observers/experts, product colour plays an important role in this paradigm shift. For this reason, companies’ marketing efforts often focus on this purely visual characteristic. There is, however, no certainty that other emerging consumer demands, related to environmental concerns or how “natural” a wine is (organic wines, natural wines, etc.), do not also play a role in the enthusiasm seen in new wine consumers. This article proposes an assessment of expectations related to colour and the decisions made by rose wine consumers, using two complementary experiments carried out in France. The first experiment is based on an online survey studying only consumers’ colour preferences. We will show that, contrary to popular belief, there is no consensus on this criterion, although regional trends can be identified. Typically, the “salmon” shade, which is generally the leader on the global market—and characteristic of Provence wines—does not win unanimous support across all regions. In contrast, an “apricot” shade seems to be preferred by consumers in the Bordeaux region. The second experiment confirms this result within the framework of an experimental market revealing consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP). This market also offers consumers the opportunity to taste wines and provides information on organic certification and “naturalness” (symbolised by the absence of added sulphites). We will then demonstrate how the latter criteria, although often popular, play only a small role—compared with colour—in consumer decisions. We will conclude this article with observations on the atypical nature of the rose wine market and on possible avenues for further research related to the emotional role colour plays in wine tasting and its possible specificity in the world of food and drink products.
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