Beaujolais pushes varietal labelling20th March, 2012 by Andrew Catchpole
Inter Beaujolais is ramping up its drive to engage with consumers via clearer communication of the relationship between the Gamay grape, the Beaujolais region and its crus, along with renewed emphasis on the quality and value inherent in its more mature cru wines.
Speaking to the drinks business, Inter Beaujolais general manager Jean Bourjade revealed that producers are being actively encouraged to feature Gamay on the labels of their Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages wines – a move that is increasing visible on the labels of several leading estates.
“We are aware that Gamay is still relatively unknown among consumers so we are encouraging producers to use the grape variety on the (back) label to raise understanding that Beaujolais is the natural home of the world’s best expressions of the variety,” explained Bourjade.
In addition, producers are being pushed to promote the region Beaujolais on cru wines, which typically carry little obvious reference to their relationship with the wider Beaujolais appellation.
“We are also asking producers to use the word Beaujolais prominently on cru wines to ensure that consumers make the connection between high quality wines they enjoy and know, such as Fleurie and Morgon, and the region as a whole,” added Bourjade.
“Consumers don’t necessarily realise that our top crus are Beaujolais wines, but these wines can help create a halo effect for the quality the region is capable of as a whole.”
Furthermore, Inter Beaujolais is working with producers to encourage them to retain stock and release older vintages of age-worthy crus to market, especially for the on-trade.
This aims to promote the ability of the bigger structured wines such as Morgon and Moulin-à-Vent to develop in a similar fashion to pricier rivals from neighbouring Burgundy.
With three good vintages in a row and the second year of its International Gamay Competition recently attracting global entrants from 11 countries, Beaujolais’ producers are optimistic that the recent tide of negative publicity for the region is turning.
The subject of Beaujolais Nouveau still attracts fierce debate among producers, but with its ongoing decline there is consensus that the future lies in a clear focus on quality wines across all tiers of Beaujolais.
“Beaujolais accounts for less than 1.5% of global wine production but the name has far greater recognition,” said Bourjade. “We need to ensure that the world understands that we have many unique terroirs for Gamay and can relate to this through the broad diversity of our wines.”