Each year around the third Thursday of November, the Alliance Française de la Sunshine Coast organises an event to mark this important date in the French cultural calendar. In partnership with other Alliances Françaises in Australia, we import the Beaujolais Nouveau so that our members can participate in this global event.
How do French celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau?
At the strike of midnight on the third Thursday of every November, France erupts in massive celebration in honor of the unveiling (or should we say uncorking) of the Beaujolais Nouveau wine. Beaujolais Nouveau, which is a young wine (only 6 weeks old) comes from a region south of Burgundy in France.
It is rumored that the light-bodied and fruity wine must be finished by Christmas time and the French government has put regulations delaying the wine’s release until the third week in November. This means the arrival of the new Beaujolais is warmly welcomed in France.
All over the country, grand traditions have developed in honour of the release of the Beaujolais, with the biggest festival taking place in Beaujeu, the capital of the Beaujolais region. This little city springs to life during this weekend in November, hosting a massive party called Sarmentelles. The party gets its name from the french word for cuttings from the canes of grapevines called sarments, which are burned in the center of town just prior to the grand midnight unveiling. Then the huge barrels are opened to much fanfare and party-goers indulge in the new wine for the festival’s 3 day duration.
Other areas in France also boisterously celebrate the arrival of the Beaujolais Nouveau. Lyon hosts the Beaujolympiades (Beaujolympics), marking the release of the wine with music and fireworks followed by 2 days of sampling. In Paris, restaurants and bistros host their Beaujolais Nouveau parties, staying open through the night and uncorking hundreds of bottles after midnight. Wherever you may be traveling in France, this is a great night to celebrate life, wine, and a grand French tradition.