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France's Beaujolais Nouveau festival brings joy to wine lovers after pandemic blues

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Mayor of Beaujeu Sylvain Sotton (C) takes part in the traditional event "the Sarmentelles" announcing the beginning of the "Beaujolais Nouveau" 2021 wine edition on 17/11/2021
Mayor of Beaujeu Sylvain Sotton (C) takes part in the traditional event "the Sarmentelles" announcing the beginning of the "Beaujolais Nouveau" 2021 wine edition on 17/11/2021   -   Copyright  JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK / AFP
By Josephine Joly  & Maxime Biosse Duplan

Tackling the pandemic blues, it was all fun and games at the traditional "the Sarmentelles" event announcing the beginning of the 2021 edition of the Beaujolais Nouveau on Wednesday evening.

The world-famous "vin de primeur" is a red wine made from Gamay grapes produced in the Beaujolais region of France.

Every year, hundreds of wine lovers eagerly await the festival celebrated in the sleepy village of Beaujeu, some 50 kilometres north of Lyon.

JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK / AFP
Participants rise their glasses of wine in the streets of Beaujeu, capital of the Beaujolais region, in the night of November 17 to November 18, 2021.JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK / AFP

And after a turbulent two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 wine edition is particularly significant.

"Our hearts are rejoicing this year because last year was a disaster for us. So today we are happy, we celebrate, it's Beaujolais, it's friendship, it's conviviality, it's all that," the organiser of the event, Alain Laforest, told Euronews.

Beauty queen Lea Sandrin, who was elected as the '2021 Miss Beaujolais', attended the event for the first time.

"It's the first time that I've had the opportunity to come, but it's true that we're very very well received, there's a very good atmosphere, it's very warm, and we're very happy to be able to meet again, especially after the coronavirus," she said.

JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK / AFP
A participant pours a glass of wine in the streets of Beaujeu, capital of the Beaujolais region, in the night of November 17 to November 18, 2021.JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK / AFP

In the streets of Beaujeu, the brass bands kept the crowds entertained as people and families came from far away to support the winegrowers and their traditions.

Beaujolais winemakers, including those from famous crus such as "Moulin à Vent", "Brouilly" and "Saint-Amour" came out in force to ensure the revellers had plenty to drink until the early hours of the morning.

As the clock strikes twelve in the village square, the highlight of the night begins.

The brand new wine barrels are cracked open and everyone gets the opportunity to sample the village's "crème de la crème", a product that spreads a little happiness to millions of wine lovers around the world.

Watch the full interview with Beaujolais wine producer Kevin Jandard in the video player above.