This Thursday is “Beaujolais Day,” a special occasion that occurs on the third Thursday in November each year, meaning that at approximately 12:01am this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau will be released for sale to the public worldwide. This French red wine is the most popular of all vins des primeurs, referring to those wines that are permitted by Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) regulations to be sold in the same year in which their grapes were harvested and actually, is ready to be drunken just 6-8 weeks after the harvest. Around 49 million liters comprising 65 million bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau are produced each year, making up nearly half of the region’s total wine production – about half of which is exported, with the USA coming up just behind Germany and Japan for taking the biggest share. I had the rare opportunity to taste 2006’s Beaujolais Nouveau the evening before its official release when I was studying abroad in Paris, France, as a wine distributor who was friends with one of the directors in charge of my program arranged a special tasting of the Beaujolais Nouveau for the students a part of this program.
The Beaujolais Nouveau is known more for its tradition and the event of its early release rather than its exquisite taste. Due to its method of production, there is very little tannin, normally found in red wines, making the Beaujolais Nouveau a lighter, fruitier, wine that is also recommended served chilled. This combination makes for a celebratory beverage that is easy to drink – and even perhaps better suited to be gulped, rather than sipped and critiqued – and is also one in which Americans often find pleasant to pair with their Thanksgiving turkeys (an occasion for which it is particularly promoted, falling a week after the wine is released). In fact, the date of its release was actually changed to the third Thursday in November in 1985 to take greater advantage of the marketing opportunities the wine would procure at this time – the region had always made a wine to celebrate the end of the harvest but with the establishment of the Beaujolais AOC in 1937 specific release dates were assigned.
The great success of this wine is indeed due mostly to the marketing efforts that promote it, efforts that are enforced by Monsieur Georges Duboeuf, the biggest producer of Beaujolais Nouveau, which represents over a fifth of his annual production. The labels on Duboeuf’s bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau feature colorful abstract designs that are different each year (2009′s is above) and he even has silk ties made and sold by select distributors with the same design.
While colorful abstract silk ties may not be appropriate products to use in a promotional marketing campaign celebrating the release of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau, promotional wine bottle openers are the perfect alternative. Plus, as opposed to gifting bottles of the wine itself, whose bottle will most likely be disposed of after its contents are drunken (and while other wines “get better with age,” the Beaujolais Nouveau is intended for immediate drinking, and it is not recommended to keep a bottle for more than a year) your promotional wine bottle openers can serve their recipients well into the future – advertising your brand well into the future too!
Here is a video from the Associated Press featuring New York chefs and wine connoisseurs and Franck Duboeuf, Partner of Georges Duboeuf Wines, tasting and providing their own commentary on last year’s Beaujolais Nouveau.
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