Thoughts on pink wines, bathrooms and naps, by Adam Lee

Over the years, I have come to enjoy Adam Lee’s viewpoints not only on wine but a vast array of other subjects as well. As the founder and winemaker of Siduri Winery, he should be no stranger to readers of pdwr. He manages to frame the discussion of Rosé in a way that nobody else has attempted. doug wilder, pdwr

On a recent sales trip to Missouri, trying to peddle Pinot Noir to customers who are clearly over-saturated with the grape, I found that I had to battle for attention with two distinct foes, neither of which I would have even imagined a decade ago. 

From shop to shop, I ran into a veritable wall of Rosé wines.  I’ve witnessed the growth of this phenomena for several years, but now in what seems to be a stunning historical reversal, Rosé wines are storming the beaches of middle America.  Restaurants, fine wine stores, and not-so-fine wine stores alike are full of Rosé.  I was even invited to a Rosé party, where virtually all of the wines poured with tri-tip were of a pink hue.  My smaller distributor told me that they, alone, will sell over 3000 cases of Rosé wine this year.  Unbelievable!

The other phenomena that permeated my trip, less obvious from a wine point-of-view but ubiquitous nonetheless, was the current obsession with transgenderism and bathroom rights.  At every wine sales event, the topic inevitably came up in casual conversation.  The local airwaves were filled with debates on how to approach the Department of Education’s directive that all schools comply with bathroom access based on gender identity.  One member of the Missouri legislature declared transgenderism to be “inconsistent with natural law” while a Missouri Senator said the federal directive was “common sense.” 

At some point on my sales trip, I somehow started to mix the topics together.  I began to look at all of the Rosé wines around me as white wines trying to identify as reds, or red wines determined to identify as whites.  I looked at the distinctive colors of the wines, some lighter in hue, even slightly orange, while others almost as dark as some Pinots and began to wonder how they were made.  Some it seemed, had undergone a vinous reassignment surgery, adding parts of one wine to another, adjusting the lighter color and taste of a more female wine by adding just a bit of a wine obviously more masculine. 

On my plane flight back home, between several fitful naps, I began to wonder if there isn’t a greater lesson for all of us among those Rosé wines in Missouri.  I know full and well that ten years ago, many customers and retailers and even restaurateurs wouldn’t have been as accepting of these Rosé wines.  They would have looked at them as an aberration; something that they personally were okay with, but that their customers would never accept.  Now, these wines are all the rage and seemingly taking over the world.  My guess is that in a decade, this hype surrounding Rosé wines will have subsided and some other wine will become the wine category du jour.  But Rosé wines will never be viewed the same.  They will be an entrenched part of that wine world, accepted for what they are, respected as much as any other wine for the pleasure and diversity they bring to the world of wine.


Adam Lee


Does anyone have an original story about Rosé?

I don’t think that I am alone in my disappointment with the lack of originality in stories written about rosé wines. For the last 7 or 8 years about this time there are dozens of articles written annually about dry pink wines, which on the face of it is a good thing. I can’t remember more than a handful of these published pieces that didn’t find the neccessity to inform the reader that Rosé isn’t that “sweet White Zinfandel.” or how the market has experienced double digit growth over the last x years. The writing seems like whole paragraphs are interchangable between writers. Is it plaigerism? No, but it shows the marks of lazy writing propped up by misconceptions of a wine that deserves better.

The unfortunate thing is the people that write these articles get paid for them and sadly some of them have high profile gigs as writers or editors and a measure of credibility in the industry. However, the Rosé story usually looks like it was written in a hurry by someone new to wine in general. If someone needs to be told that a Rosé isn’t the same as a White Zinfandel, where are the articles lecturing that Marsanne isn’t the same as Pinot Blanc? 

At purely domestic wine report, I asked for writer submissions to come up with a story about pink wines that was outside the box. So far there has only been one submission. Did I mention that I would pay $500 for those that I publish?