Originally, and unknown to many, most of the first ever recorded wines were actually rosé. First versions of red wine produced were fairly light in shade due to their production process.
The Story Of Rosé
In ancient Greece, white and red grapes were combined to make wine, crushed together by workers feet whilst they held tightly onto ropes for balance; a traditional and entertaining method that is rarely found in the 21st century. This blend of red and white grapes to make “rosé” was not intentional but purely the norm; the term rosé wasn’t actually adopted until centuries later.
In the 6th century BC, the Greek Phocaeans travelled to and founded Massalia (modern day Marseille) in Southern France, bringing grape vines with them. The wines they produced were also field blends of white and red grapes. Naturally light in colour, these pleasant pink wines gained popularity and a reputation around the Mediterranean.
When the Romans later arrived in Provence, they were already very aware of the light pink delight created in Massalia. Using their connected trade network, they were able to feed the high demand for this wine across the four corners of the Mediterranean.
It was not until the 14th Century though, that the term "rosé" was associated with the colour of a wine; quoted for the first time by Irishman and French translator Jofroi de Waterford in his book Segré de segrez. It didn’t actually appear in the French Dictionary until 1680, and only in 1862 in the Parisian vineyard of Louis XIV, was a wine produced and designated the first official rosé wine of France.
Fast forward to the 19th Century, people across France flocked to the French Riviera during their holidays and in turn, the simple rosé wine of the locals became a symbol of leisurely summer glamour; a reflection of the rosé we know and love today.