Change of pace: Summer is the time for rosé and other lighter wines.
Sales of rose have tripled in France in the past decade with the emergence of a more open-minded generation of wine drinkers. Photo: Jennifer Soo

David Chazan, Paris

Sales of rose wine - once the object of contempt from connoisseurs who winced at the southern habit of drinking it with ice - have tripled in France in a decade.

Nine out of 10 French wine drinkers now enjoy the occasional glass of rose, according to a recent survey.

And last year, for the first time, nearly a third of wine made in France was rose. While more than half was red, white wines made up only about 17 per cent of the total.

Experts say younger people have become more open-minded about wine, while the quality of rose has improved, thanks to new wine-making methods and technology.

"It's not that rose is succeeding as never before, it's society that's changing," said Olivier Nasles, a winemaker in Provence, the traditional home of rose. "People under 50 want instant pleasure. To appreciate rose, you don't need to know a whole lot about appellations or which years are best. It's much more accessible."

Francois Millo, the head of the Provence Wine Council, a growers' association, said: "Technical developments have been considerable. That makes it possible to obtain notes of citrus, tropical fruit and berries."

More French vineyards are switching from red to rose, enticed by the growing market and the quick returns the product offers. Unlike red wines most rose varieties are better drunk fresh and young. Costly storage in oak barrels is not necessary.

Even the conservative viticulteurs of Bordeaux, a red wine stronghold, are getting serious about rose.

Traditionally no more than a by-product, made with pink juices removed from freshly pressed grapes used to make red, output in Bordeaux has risen by 15 per cent.

Daily Telegraph, London