Beaujolais Nouveau may be derided as a gimmick by some wine lovers, but official figures in the Decanter graphic below show there is still plenty of consumer demand around the world.

Revellers gathered in the town of Beaujeu last Thursday night to celebrate the arrival of the first Beaujolais wine from the 2014 vintage.

Almost 10,000km to the east and several hours earlier, party-goers in Japan had done much the same thing. Some particularly enthusiastic consumers even jumped into wine baths to toast the new vintage at Japan’s Hakone Kowakien Yunessun resort, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Beaujolais Nouveau night – always the third Thursday in November – tends to divide opinion among wine drinkers.

It has lost some of its allure in certain countries, such as the UK, where the Inter Beaujolais wine trade council has focused more effort on communicating the region’s quality credentials via Beaujolais Villages and the 10 Beaujolais Crus.

It’s a strategy that shows signs of working, according to one of the UK’s biggest merchants, Bibendum. It said late last week that it sees stronger interest in Beaujolais, particularly among more affluent consumers, who have got over the ‘negative image’ created by the ‘Nouveau craze’ of the 1980s.

Yet, what’s clear from the infographic above is that Beaujolais Nouveau remains an important sales mechanism for many producers.

More than 13.3m bottles were exported in 2013, albeit down by around 9% versus 2012, according to figures published by Ubifrance and Inter Beaujolais. Japan alone received the equivalent of almost 8m bottles, while China could be one to watch. The country was only just behind the UK in 2013, shows the chart.
 

 

Written by Chris Mercer