Beaujolais forges ahead with classification

10th December, 2012 by Gabriel Stone

The Beaujolais region is working to introduce a vineyard-based classification system within the next decade.

Following the model of its Burgundian neighbour, the system will be based entirely on terroir rather than the tasting and pricing factors advocated recently by St Emilion. In a further step to keep the process simple, the model will be limited to a sole “premier cru” qualification for the best sites.

The assessment process for Beaujolais’ 18,000 hectares of vineyard began around four years ago and, said Anthony Collet, marketing and communications manager for Inter Beaujolais, “We’ve done about 40% so far.”

Despite the complexities of establishing this project, he stressed that the end result is designed to help, rather than confuse consumers. “We are an easy to understand region,” remarked Collet, “12 appellations, two grapes, three colours. We want to remain simple.”

Instead, he explained of this scheme, “The whole purpose is to increase the average price for Beaujolais,” adding as a secondary but related objective: “It’s very important for us to show that Beaujolais can age.”

Although UK volume sales of Beaujolais increased by 1.5% last year, with value also in growth, sales of the region’s top cru-level wines fell by 12%. In contrast, there was an explosion of interest in Beaujolais Nouveau, which saw volumes rise by 80%. Analysing this uplift, Collet said: “I think it came from the independents – we had lots of requests for promotional material for events.”

However, with the region enjoying a run of three strong vintages between 2009 and 2011, Collet expressed an ambition to draw attention to the higher quality end of Beaujolais’ output.

Picking out 2009 in particular, which he suggested “will easily last 20 or 30 years”, Collet observed that this vintage supported an important shift among producers in supporting Beaujolais’ quality drive.

“Producers are starting to age their wines and I think with the 2009 vintage they realised that they have to do this,” he remarked.

Although sales are struggling in a number of European markets, Beaujolais enjoyed 2.8% growth in exports last year. According to Collet, China is “doubling every year – and it’s not Nouveau, it’s the top end”; while Russia is “exploding” with triple digit growth. Even Japan, where sales spent 10 years in steady decline, has rebounded since 2009, with Collet reporting “10% growth last year.”

Although Inter Beaujolais will be shifting its UK focus in 2013 towards consumer events such as the Taste festivals and will not be attending next year’s London International Wine Fair, Collet outlined plans for a nationwide programme of trade masterclasses, as well as the organisation’s annual trade tasting in London.

One Response to “Beaujolais forges ahead with classification”

  1. He degustado un Beaujolais Nouveau salido de bodega en 2011, me
    parecio un afrutado, fresco , y con un final de boca muy agradable.Pensaba
    encontrar un caldo muy aspero. Todo lo contrario, muy fino al retrogusto.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

Sales Account Manager

Jascots Wine Merchants
London, UK

Marylebone Sales Manager

Philglas & Swiggot
Marylebone, London, UK

Area Sales Manager

Bon Coeur Fine Wines
North England, UK

Procurement Assistant – Wine

Adnams PLC
Southwold, UK

Account Manager Central London

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

Brand Ambassador

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

National Business Development Manager

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

Marketing Assistant

Hatch Mansfield
Ascot, Berkshire, UK

Marketing Manager

Bancroft Wines
London, UK

Regional Sales Manager – Scotland

Bancroft Wines
London, UK

Sales Manager – London On-Trade

Bancroft Wines
London, UK

Customer Service & Sales Support Executive

Jascots Wine Merchants
London, UK

Market Insight Analyst

Conviviality PLC
London, UK

Technical Manager

Enotria&Coe
Park Royal, London, GB

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

Deadline : 25th August 2017

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

Deadline : 25th August 2017

Global Chardonnay Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st September 2017

The Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st September 2017

Click to view more

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

The Global Organic Masters 2017

The drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Organic Masters

The Drinks Business Awards 2017

Now in its 15th year, the db awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.

The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2017

the drinks business Hong Kong announces its first year of The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters.

Click to view more