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Culture

A New Wine with an Old Tradition

Last night, on the third Thursday of the month of November at midnight, corks popped around the globe – celebrating the arrival of this year's Beaujolais Nouveau. Cheers!

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As from midnight, Beaujolais Nouveau is flowing freely again

The world famous wine Beaujolais Nouveau turned 50 on Thursday. Despite expectations that demand would be dampened this year, there was no sign of a Beaujolais recession – whether in Europe or the US. Sales in Germany were as high as ever.


The wine, harvested just two months ago from the vineyards in France's south eastern Beaujolais region was flown around the world in a hurry to reach its destinations before the traditional deadline of midnight on the third Thursday in November.

Cargo planes flew their eagerly awaited freight to more than 150 countries around the world. For 8 days freight forwarders were stretched to capacity to bring the wines to their final destination. And only so that Beaujolais Nouveau wines could be opened on the same day at the same time on all five
continents.

The birth of the Beaujolais Nouveau

The tradition of celebrating the arrival of the new vintage began in 1951, when French regulators for the first time let Beaujolais estates realease their wine on the same day.

As a result, vineyards in the region could sell their early wines. Beaujolais Nouveau may be translated a "new" wine, but is in fact a mature tradition.

According to French wine connoisseur Michael Rougier, drinking young wines is an age-old tradition. "In the old days there were only young wines. The mature wines are in fact new. The young "nouveau" wines however have a long history. People only drank young wines for thousands of years because people didn't realise that the wines could
be left to mature," he says.

No Beaujolais recession

The amount of Beaujolais Nouveau to be distributed around the world grows from year to year.

Orders were high in the US, where the wine is a favourite at
Thanksgiving dinner tables. According to the Beaujolais wine grower's body UIVB there are no final figures, but demand could even be stronger than last year.

After the French, Germans drink the most Beaujolais, closely followed by the US and Japan. lb