The Beaujolais wine trade body, Inter Beaujolais, has begun a €4m, three-year plan to increase awareness of its wines in the US.

The campaign, a self-styled attempt to appear ‘cool’ and ‘unpretentious’ to a younger generation of wine drinkers, is called License to Chill and will target three major US cities or states every year.

New York will be the main focus over the three years, along with Chicago and San Francisco in 2005, Los Angeles and Boston in 2006 and the states of Florida and Texas in 2007.

The campaign sees the Inter Beaujolais clubbing together with the Italian Olive Oil Federation (Federolio) to jointly promote their produce in the US.

The total investment is a whopping €4m (£2.7m / US$4.9m), mainly funded by the European Union, which actively backs EU countries getting together for marketing campaigns outside Europe.

License to Chill’s marketing push will include advertisements in local publications, on billboards and on various food and wine television shows as well as events at local wine stores and bars.

The US is Inter Beaujolais’ second target market after Japan, where a similar three-year campaign has just ended. The wine trade body hopes to take as large a share of the North American market as possible.

‘The reason for targeting the US is simple,’ said Anne Masson of Inter Beaujolais. ‘All the studies show that within 10 years, the US will be the world’s number one wine consumer, and in export terms the US is our second biggest market after Japan.’

Written by Oliver Styles