“When we arrived in 2006, the region was doing well because of the Riviera, but there was no quality in the wines,” says Château d’Esclans owner Sacha Lichine. “At the time, a lot of wine went to be made into distilled alcohol and vineyards weren’t really taken care of. Then, we developed something that was focused on quality.”
The growing reputation of Provençal rosé, coupled with the region’s glamorous image, attracted copious investments from celebrities, most notably Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, whose inaugural 2015 vintage of Miraval sold out within hours of release.
Global sales of Provençal rosé have since gone through the roof and Between 2012 and 2013, our exports started to increase almost exponentially,” says Brice Eymard, general director of the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Provence (CIVP). “Before, our market was essentially French… but the U.S. became our first big export market.”
The thriving international reputation of its signature variety, the wealth generated by sizeable investments and a flourishing enotourism industry are turning Provence into a pink Napa.
A New Wine Destination
In 2019, Provence’s Château Minuty renovated its cellar to include a new tasting room and a wine library. That same year, Provence Rosé Group’s Ultimate Provence brand launched its new estate curated by interior design firm Humbert & Poyet. The property has a hotel, restaurant, visitor center, wine terrace and cocktail lounge, and hosts a near-constant stream of music events.
They’re among many Provençal producers targeting long-haul wine tourism. According to Eymard, while the French Riviera has always attracted European travelers, demographics have changed as the reputation of Provençal wines, particularly rosé, has grown globally.
“We used to have lots of tourists from Europe, especially Germans, but now we are getting more visitors from big export countries such as the U.S. and Russia,” says Eymard.