Beverage alcohol retailers uncorked the holiday season with the annual release of Beaujolais Nouveau on the third Thursday in November. “We plan to open a bottle for our customers to taste it on the release date,” says Vince Liotta, owner of the three-unit Sal’s Beverage World in metropolitan Chicago. Liotta kept his shipment in the backroom until the morning of November 17, 2022, and then brought it out to the floor to start selling it.
High expectations exist for this year’s vintage. “With record high temperatures and drought conditions, this year’s grapes ripened earlier than normal and were smaller in size due to the lack of water,” says Dennis Kreps, co-owner of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau importer Quintessential. “As a result, the fruit is extremely well-balanced with a high concentration of flavor, purity, and energy.”
This year, the Beaujolais Nouveau pioneer released Georges Duboeuf Rosé ($16 a 750-ml.) alongside its flagship Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau ($15 a 750-ml.). Both wines are nationally available in limited quantities. “There’s a lot of excitement from the market for this year’s Nouveau, with the impressive quality of the vintage and the striking new label design made by French artist Alain Vavro,” Kreps says. Vavro has worked for other well-known brands, such as Paul Bocuse and Villeroy & Boch.
While the top metropolitan markets for Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau include New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, the wine has a strong following in Chicago and markets nationwide. “We have a lot of customers who like to make sure they get their Nouveau each and every year,” Liotta says. “Some are case buyers and some just want to have a couple of bottles to enjoy with their Thanksgiving Day dinner.”
Sal’s Beverage World is stocking three Beaujolais Nouveau labels this year, including Georges Duboeuf, Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais Nouveau ($25.99 a 750-ml.), and La Soeur Cadette Beaujolais Nouveau ($28.99). “A lot of the producers I carried in the past didn’t offer any this year or last year,” says Liotta, who anticipates high demand. “I feel like this will be the first year since 2019 where we get back on track selling a bunch of Nouveau before Thanksgiving.”
Quintessential’s retail marketing focuses on education and engagement. “We educate the consumer on the Beaujolais region and the fantastic celebratory nature of Nouveau,” Kreps says. “We also track Nouveau shipments on social media so each distributor, retailer, or consumer knows when the wine is arriving in their state.”
The consumer sweepstakes “Georges Duboeuf Cork Contest” is back, where legal. Every cork in each bottle of 2022 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau has an individual code, which can be entered at Firstwineoftheharvest.com to potentially win Duboeuf-branded accessories, including berets and limited-edition ties and scarves.
The supply chain remains challenging but is moving. “The best analogy is a duck paddling on a lake; on the surface everything appears calm but underneath it’s kicking like crazy,” Kreps says. “Our best-in-class logistics team is working feverishly to ensure all cases of Georges Duboeuf are delivered directly to our wholesalers and out into the wider marketplace on time for Nouveau Day.’’
Last year, Beaujolais Nouveau was hard to find near the end of December, and the same is expected this year. “In 2021, the sell-through was fantastic. However, we had reduced quantity due to the frost and decrease in production and had to allocate Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau,” Kreps says. “Because of this allocation and the limited number of other Nouveaus, Georges Duboeuf sold out before January. With the standout quality and strong demand in the market this year, I expect Nouveau to sell out by mid-December.”