The days are getting shorter and colder, but retail shelves will soon be buzzing with the yearly release of France’s Beaujolais Nouveau on Thursday, November 18. “The week before Thanksgiving, when Beaujolais Nouveau comes in, people are expecting it and looking for it,” says Michael Weiner, wine buyer at Sav-Mor Liquors’ four stores in the greater Boston area. “Customers are trying to pre-order bottles of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau ($12 a 750-ml.) for delivery, which we don’t have in stock yet. People go crazy. They just want to find it and bring it to Thanksgiving. Everybody who loves Beaujolais Nouveau comes running for it.”
Launched annually on the third Thursday of November, Beaujolais Nouveau is the harbinger of the holiday season. “Beaujolais Nouveau is a customer favorite for the holidays and has remained a constant for years,” says Doug Bell, senior principal of adult beverage innovation and product development at Austin-based Whole Foods Market. “Given the pandemic, we’ve seen and continue to see our customers wanting to purchase comfort wines from regions and varietals they know and trust.”
Imported to the U.S. by Napa, California-based Quintessential Wines, Georges Duboeuf is the leading Beaujolais Nouveau in the United States and worldwide. “While Nouveau volume was down pretty significantly this year, the quality is fantastic,” says Quintessential co-founder Dennis Kreps. “We weren’t able to fill all of the orders we had for Nouveau, but the wine will be available nationwide to consumers who act quickly.”
The wine is unmistakable with its bright floral labels, designed and chosen by consumers through an artist contest. The wines are primarily sold off-premise and marketing support includes bright Beaujolais Nouveau p-o-s, such as posters, window stickers, shelf talkers, table tents, coasters, silk ties, scarves, berets, and aprons for sales staff. Leading Beaujolais Nouveau retailers in the United States include Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Publix, H-E-B, and BevMo. The top markets are New York, Florida, and California. “The most growth potential is with the younger generation, who haven’t yet been introduced to the Georges Duboeuf Nouveau celebration of the harvest,” Kreps says.
Trader Joe’s will be selling Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau ($10-$14 a 750-ml., depending on the market) in 35 states and Washington, DC. “Logistics have been challenging for all retailers this year, but we expect to have the wine ready for our customers in time for Beaujolais Nouveau Day,” says Rachel Broderick, marketing and communications specialist for Trader Joe’s.
Duboeuf Nouveau is also supported with highly targeted digital advertising, social media, a “First Wine of the Harvest” contest, and local events nationwide. “We are prepared for the supply chain squeeze,” Kreps says. “It will have a negative impact on our profit margins, but we anticipate supplying our customers’ needs in a timely fashion.”
Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau Rosé ($13.49 a 750-ml.) will also be available on a limited basis. “Allocations were cut significantly due to a short vintage,” Kreps says. “In the U.S., 2,000 cases will be available to consumers.”
At Sav-Mor stores in Massachusetts, posters will go on the windows and the wine will be stacked close to the cash registers in the front of the stores. “We always put it up near the front for customers to pick as their last item,” Weiner says. “It’s great for impulse shopping. People realize they should bring a bottle of Nouveau or they will come in to just grab that.”
Weiner orders enough Beaujolais Nouveau to last through the holidays. “People want it all season long,” Weiner says. “So I order extra to make sure I have it for Christmas and New Year’s in addition to Thanksgiving.”