Christin Ahlfeld

Beaujolais DayEvery third Thursday of November, people all over the world are celebrating the Beaujolais Day. The wine Beaujolais Nouveau is a fruity wine which is made from the Gamay grape and produced within only six to eight weeks after harvesting in the Burgundy area of France.

But why do people celebrate this special day?


The history of the Beaujolais Day

The celebration of the arrival of the new Beaujolais began in the late 1940s and originally was a local phenomenon in the bars and cafes of Beaujolais and Lyon. The vin de premieur was quickly produced to celebrate the end of the harvest. The government soon intervened to regulate the sale of the wine. In 1938 first restrictions were passed. In 1951 the regulations were revoked and the Beaujolais Nouveau was officially accepted. The date for the release of the wine was set to November 15 at first, but was changed to the third Thursday of November in 1985.

The international success

Beaujolais WineThe Beaujolais Day became famous internationally from the 1970s onwards, starting in Britain and then spreading to neighboring countries and Europe in the 1980s. North America and Asia took up the festivities the following years.

The reason for the international popularity of this festivity is a masterpiece in marketing. The largest negotiant in the region, Georges Debœf, promotes the festival intensively. The Beaujolais Nouveau Day attracted a lot of press thus helping to promote the festival. Nowadays, Japan imports most of the wine, followed by the USA and Germany. The figures of the total amount of wine exported on this day differ, but it is estimated that around 50 to 65 million bottles will be distributed and drunk.

The Beaujolais is a region north of Lyon and southern part of the famous Burgundy area, home to 4,000 wine yards. The Beaujolais wine makes up to half of the production in total.

The ‘race’ to Paris

The exporters of the wine do not release any bottles before midnight. On midnight they go on a ‘race’ to Paris in order to get the first bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau to the French capital. It has become the tradition that every bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau has to find its way first to Paris before being exported throughout the world.

There are uncommon ways of transportation reported for this special wine. Besides transporting it on trucks and motorcycles, it has also been carried on elephants, rickshaws, a hot-air balloon and even a Concorde.

This year the Beaujolais Day will be celebrated on November 15. If you’re living in the Swansea area, there are some opportunities to celebrate it. The Dragon Hotel in the city centre and the Swansea Marriott Hotel offer entertaining lunch events on this special day.

What are you doing to celebrate Beaujolais Day this year?

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