Beaujolais Nouveau is a fruity, very young red wine that is released for sale every year on the third Thursday of November, on the stroke of midnight.
The uncorking of the bottles in France is marked by parties, fireworks and other festivities. In this photo, a French winemaker offers a 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to guests in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Japan.
Initially the day for the bottles to be launched was November 15, but that was changed in 1985. According to Wine Weekly, the Thursday release was intended “to bring about a more festive celebration”, as people would celebrate into the weekend. The wine belongs to a category of wines called vins primeurs, meaning any wine sold in the same year it is harvested, not long after completing fermentation. According to The Oxford Wine Encyclopedia, the tradition of drinking wine so young dates from the 19th century, when “the year’s wine would complete its fermentation in cask while en route to nearby Lyons, where the new wine provided a direct link with village life in the Beaujolais hills”. In the 1960s and 70s, the wine began to become popular outside of France, with canny marketing gurus turning the race to export the newly bottled wine into an event itself (Le Figaro, the French newspaper, has called the rush ”the greatest marketing stroke since the end of World War Two”.) Means of transport have allegedly included elephant, Concorde and a hot-air balloon.