Winegrowers celebrate release of Beaujolais Nouveau amid challenges at home and abroad

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By Guillaume Petit  & Luke Hurst
Party goers celebrate the drilling of this year's Beaujolais barrels
Party goers celebrate the drilling of this year's Beaujolais barrels   -  Copyright  REUTERS

French winegrowers and drinkers have celebrated this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau, despite the challenges posed by the weather at home as well as an increasingly tricky export market.

France's most famous young wine is sold by producers just weeks after it is harvested and has been transformed from a quaint French tradition into something of an international fad. Rushing out wine in this unusual manner is hardly ever advisable for quality control, yet the phenomenon has been warmly received abroad, particularly in Japan and the US,

Some growers had their production hit by an untimely frost on the vineyards this year - forcing some to sell locally instead of trying to export.

Julian Bertrand, a winemaker from the Chantenay area of Beaujolais, told Euronews his production was reduced by 50-60% on last year and added that he had gone to great lengths to sell his stock to his local customers.

Donald Trump’s 25% tariffs on French wines - imposed as part of a trade spat with the EU - could pose a problem on the export side, but it’s not yet clear what effect the taxes will have.

Also, countries that have traditionally been big importers of the wine, such as Japan, have been losing some of their taste for the young wine, according to the president of Beaujolais winemakers' association Dominique Piron.

However, while the export market was stronger last year, according to the grower’s association, winegrowers are showing resistance, thanks to their long-standing trade relations with importers, but also due to effective marketing.

Certainly, Beaujolais Nouveau is a marketing triumph in itself. And despite many wine enthusiasts eschewing the hastily-produced yield for being thin and characterless, when a winemaker knows what they're doing with the legendary Gamay grape, the results can be both rewarding and good value.

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