Beaujolais Nouveau arrives in Delhi

beauj1.jpg As the wine drinking culture spreads in India, the country picks up the Beaujolais Nouveau tradition. Beaujolais Nouveau Day is celebrated around the world with vehicles and even aircraft standing at the ready as producers race to get the first bottles of the vintage to popular markets around the world before anyone else – from London to as far afield as Japan!

In Delhi the event was organised by Air France and Maison de la France (the French Tourist Board) in association with The Imperial on Wednesday, 26 November. It was a balmy night and the lawns of the hotel were filled with people enjoying this popular red wine produced from the Gamay grape in the Beaujolais region of France. An assortment of charcuterie and cheeses specially flown in for the occasion accompanied the wine.
According to tradition the uncorking of the new harvest of Beaujolais takes place on the third Thursday of November. Called vin de primeur, the wine is fermented for only a few weeks and then officially released for sale on the third Thursday. A young, fruity wine, Beaujolais Nouveau is not expensive. Heavily marketed, its release is celebrated with parties from Beijing to Boston. Despite the festive atmosphere and hoopla surrounding its release, Beaujolais Nouveau is not considered a serious wine.
Forty percent of its production is exported abroad. Last year, 18.5 million bottles were exported to 107 countries for a total of €45 million in sales. Japan and the United States top the consumption list.
Although 2008 was not a good harvest, producers hope it will lift spirits during the financial crisis despite a poor crop! The wine’s success is accounted for because it is an easy wine to drink, semi sweet and fruity – and this is the reason it is likely to be popular in India too.


  1. How much Beaujolais was imported by India? Also what kind of pricing is giving to a wholesaler in India compared to someone buying from say Japan?

  2. The Beaujolais Nouveau event is a great promotional event that was started by the ‘king’ of Beaujolais, Georges Duboeuf, I believe. It became the big event that announced the new vintage in the northern hemisphere by becoming the first wine to be very quickly vinified and flown around the world in the second week of November, to be simultaneously released the on the third Thursday of each year. It is called the Beaujolais Nouveau Run.
    We have participated in a few such Beaujolais Nouveau launch events in the past, but our logistics in the country do not allow us to meet the deadline as Beaujolais can’t/won’t release their wine to us before the second week and the launch HAS TO BE on the third Thursday. Japan takes specific importance in this exercise as it’s the eastern most country so it becomes the first country to release and taste the Nouveau. That seems to go down quite well with the country and several Air-France jumbo loads of Beaujolais Nouveau are shipped to Japan.
    The wine, Beaujolais Nouveau, itself is barely drinkable I’m afraid. It is very tannic and raw. Most years in Bombay, Air-France and the French mission has taken part in organising the Beaujolais Nouveau festival. After a bit of gap they did one in conjunction with Four Seasons and they also brought in some top French Chefs. The market, however, has moved on from Beaujolais, particularly the Nouveau.
    We do import Beaujolais but not the lowest Beaujolais appellation anymore. We import Beaujolais Villages and one of the Cru’s of Beaujolais, Fluerie. We also used to import three other Crus, Brouilly, Juleanas and Moulin-a-Vent but not anymore. Beaujolais provided value-for-money wines that were very rapidly replaced by the Chilean and Australian wines.
    Sanjay Menon, Sansula, Mumbai

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