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Jason Sheeler | Photo: Ben Garrett | June 25, 2013
Steffi Burns is on a mission to have all of Dallas drinking pink.
Rosé is having a moment in Dallas. You’ve probably seen people enjoying a chilled glass of pink wine at your favorite bar or restaurant. Should you find yourself enjoying a glass yourself—fret not that the color is sweeter than the taste— you can thank Steffi Burns. “Well, thank my family!” laughs the 30-something Dallasite, who moved home from New York two years ago to help launch the family business. “I’m definitely the social one.”
Indeed. While Dad runs the Dallas-based, Le Raisin Imports, LLC, Burns has been networking all over Dallas, stocking wine racks with rosé at some of Dallas’ best known boites. In particular, the family teamed up with 263-year-old French winery Château de Berne to create an exclusive rosé blend, which they sell to some of the city’s top eatieries, including Bistro 31, Cafe Pacific, Mansion Restaurant, Shinsei and Toulouse. Launched in 2012, the Burns’ blend sold out last summer. “We couldn’t believe it,” the younger Burns recalls. “I was calling my dad in France, asking for more and more.” They couldn’t keep up with demand, but are more than ready this summer, convinced that rosé wasn’t just a trend. “It’s a staple,” says Burns. “And ours meets all the standards in France, made with grenache grapes. My family has spent a lot of time in Europe, especially in Saint-Tropez. We kept drinking rosé and realized you couldn’t get good French varieties in Texas.”
Burns has turned into something of a wine expert and a very public face for the family business. (She even deejays at some of the hot spots that sell the family juice.) “I love creating relationships with people, to introduce a restaurant employee, whether a waiter, busboy, patron—whatever—to what a really good Provence rosé should taste like. I think because it’s pink people think it’s sweet or white zinfandel.” But after Burns gives her talk—and maybe spins a few tunes—the owners become believers. “I tell them how it’s a young wine, how it’s meant for drinking now, how my dad says ‘real men drink pink’— that usually makes them laugh.” And while she may have them laughing, Steffi doesn’t joke about rosé. “I’m super passionate about the way it tastes. You can always tell by the color, if the skins have been left on too long. And I’m not even the biggest drinker.” Says the single gal, whose hair happens to be the color of rosé, incidentally, “rosé is best with french fries.”