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Long-time Grape Sense readers know of my passion for dry rosé. The latest numbers show more and more Americans are enjoying the dry pink passion.

Grape Sense LogoThe Nielsen growth statistics have been rather astounding the past few years. The last reporting period covered May 2013 to May of this year showed 20 percent growth in volume of imported Provence Rosé. If that’s not impressive enough, consider mid-summer sales ending June 21 for the previous 52 weeks showing an incredible 55 percent growth in Rosé imports.

But anecdotally I’ve witnessed growth beyond the French sales. At least two of the more prominent Indianapolis-area wine shops had a considerably larger rosé selection this summer than previous years.

RoseloresDuring summer trips to Oregon and California it certainly appeared more wineries were designating precious grapes for their first or second vintage of dry rosé.

So if you haven’t tried dry Rose, what are you missing? Rosé hits just the right spot between dry white and red wines. It may be the most flexible wine in your wine rack. You can enjoy rosé with a very wide range of meals well beyond reds and whites. It’s also the best sipper in the wine rack for those evenings of small bites and a glass of wine.

My other personal favorite wine is Pinot Noir and particularly Oregon Pinot. It’s always interesting to talk to winemakers and get their take on what’s happening in the vineyard this time of year. I met Don Crank, Willamette Valley Vineyards winemaker, a couple of years ago at the Indy International Wine Competition.

“The winemaking and vineyard team and I are now working around the clock to bring in fruit from our three estate vineyards,” Crank said of the on-going fall harvest. “The grapes have reached optimal ripeness from the evenly warm vintage, and have retained their naturally bright acidity from the cool nights. What sets 2014 apart from other warm weathered years is we didn’t experience heat spikes in the vineyard, sending the grapes into sun-shock. Instead, the fruit is healthy and near-perfection.”

Crank picks Pinot Noir and Chardonnay first to make his ‘traditional-method’ sparkling wine.

Don Crank

Don Crank

“The grapes were pressed immediately to avoid picking up color or tannin from the skins and are now fermenting. We will bottle this wine after some time in barrel, and then inoculate for its secondary fermentation, which creates the sparkle.”

Harvest time is always chaotic in any wine region. It’s a little extra chaotic this fall in Napa after the Aug. 24 earthquake. The estimated losses have constantly been upgraded to nearly $80 million.

You can support some of the hardest hit wineries by going online and buying wine. Look for Robert Baile, Page Cellars, Laird, and Yates Family Winery. There are many more but those are smaller operations which can really use your wine shopping dollars.