Boston Rosé Wine Is Back In Stores, Just When We Need It Most
90+ Cellars' annual collab with Boston mag will support hospitality workers impacted by COVID-19.
The weather is improving, though it’s certainly not waterfront patio season as usual, since the Massachusetts economy is only just beginning to rouse from the pandemic-induced shutdown. Still, a rose-colored view of the city will come with every bottle of Boston Rosé, the annual summertime collaboration between 90+ Cellars and Boston magazine. Fruity but dry, and eminently crushable, the wine comes from the southern region of Languedoc, France, and is a traditional blend of grenache and cinsault grapes. It hits stores this week, just in time for Memorial Day weekend.
Besides the idyllic label art of the Charles River (the work of local designer Amanda Williams Galvin), there’s another positive reason to try the third edition of Boston Rosé: The 2019 vintage benefits the Greg Hill Foundation’s Restaurant Strong Fund, with the hope of raising $25,000 to directly support hospitality industry workers impacted by COVID-19. Boston Rosé retails for $14.99, and two dollars per bottle sold will be earmarked for the fund—that’s double the amount that past iterations of Boston Rosé have raised for other organizations. When the time came to finalize the charity component for this year’s rosé collaboration, it was early March and the coronavirus pandemic was looming, says Terry Lozoff, vice president of marketing for 90+ Cellars.
“The whole [wine] industry has really had to shift, as has everybody else in the world. But restaurants and the bars have had the most challenges,” Lozoff says. His company, which imports wines from around the world to sell under its own brands, relies predominantly on retail sales. Lozoff says those sales have been relatively strong over the past two months, commensurate with industry trends overall. That gives 90+ Cellars the opportunity “to support the wine and restaurant industry as much as we can.”
That isn’t to say it’s been a rosy year for 90+ Cellars. The Trump administration’s new 25-percent tariff on European imports has affected some of 90+ Cellars’ most popular wines, including the best-selling Lot 50 Italian Prosecco, Lot 33 French Rosé, and even Boston Rosé, though the company has managed to avoid passing those new costs on to consumers. Meanwhile, coronavirus-related shutdowns have delayed supplies of glass bottles and forced 90+ to cancel important events for the months ahead. As of right now, Lozoff isn’t sure when—or even if—90+ Cellars’ wine truck will hit the streets this year.
“We don’t have a winery and we don’t have a tasting room, so events are really, really important for us, especially here in Boston,” Lozoff says. “We had an amazing summer schedule planned, including a rosé garden in Worcester. It’s required a massive change in how we’re approaching marketing.”
To that end, 90+ has focused on making its products more available via third-party delivery services like Drizly and Instacart, and the company anticipates relaunching its own online sales platform in June, Lozoff says. 90+ is also getting into virtual events, beginning Thursday, May 28, with a Boston Rosé-centered “Boozy Broadcast” on Boston Magazine Events’ Instagram TV (IGTV). Following the Boozy Broadcast, 90+ will roll out its own social media series—think: a local bartender sharing rosé cocktail recipes; a grilling and wine pairing tutorial with a local chef; and a virtual cheers with a local fitness instructor after a livestreamed workout. Even if Bostonians can’t gather at a mobile beer garden to celebrate spring together right now, Lozoff says the company will “still find ways to bring communities together.”