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An Inside Look to the Beaujolais Vineyard

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A conversation with producers on sustainability, authenticity, and their raison d’être.

New York, NY, December 12, 2022 – No French wine-producing region has seen a renaissance quite like Beaujolais. Once synonymous with mass-produced, nouveau-style wines, this sweetheart region has since captured the hearts of industry folk, connoisseurs, and those new to wine alike—and it’s really no surprise why. Home to some of the world’s most refreshing and food-friendly wines—as well as some of the world’s most passionate vignerons—the Beaujolais region is certainly one worth diving into. Here’s why.

Continued Focus on Sustainability

For the past few decades, Beaujolais producers have been at the forefront of environmentally friendly viticulture in France. “Sustainability is the very definition of our Terra Vitis1 approach,” affirms Annie Coperet of Domaine Gilles Coperet, stating that sustainability begins in the vineyard and requires careful observation. “Sustainability is about managing resources to meet current needs without jeopardizing future needs,” she says, also noting that taking social and economic development and environmental protection into account is equally imperative.

Camille Melinand of Domaine des Marrans agrees. “A vineyard is not a start-up—the vines I cultivate today had been planted long before I was born, and it’s important to me to leave something as good as possible for the next generations,” she says.

Emphasis on the Land and Terroir

In addition to the wide use of carbonic maceration, the terroir of Beaujolais is also quite unique, thanks to its diverse topography, varied soils, and climate conditions. Melinand describes the terroir of Beaujolais not only as her origin, but also as the “promised land” of Gamay. “Our acid and poor soils make Gamay from Beaujolais unique,” she reveals, equally citing the region’s varied topography.

For Coperet, the plethora of micro-terroirs and use of the same grape variety allows for a vast array of nuanced wines. “The diversification of the terroirs allows [us], with a single grape variety, to obtain a palette of different tastes,” she says. Olympe David of Domaine David-Beaupere agrees. “This one grape variety [creates] a multitude of wines that are digestive, festive and unifying,” she explains, stating that the “extraordinary singularity of our soils and our geology” is ultimately what makes the terroir of Beaujolais stand out.

A Land of Authenticity & Raison d’Être

Beyond its distinct terroir, it’s ultimately the love of its vignerons that brings the spirit of Beaujolais to life. “Vinification is the culmination of a year of hard work; a winegrower puts all of his / her energy and his / her acquired knowledge to produce a wine that follows a lineage,”

says Coperet, additionally citing that each year brings something new. Similarly, David states that she considers vinification as a tool to preserve the grape juice of each year. “Winemaking is a very beautiful part of my job, [and] this philosophy dictates my choices,” she says.

For Melinand, all aspects of producing wine are her life’s passion. “I devote all of my time to the wellness of my vines, so as to make the most beautiful grapes [possible],” she says. “Winemaking is the result of this process. I would say that being a vigneron [processes from vine to bottle] is my raison d’être,” she affirms.

2022 Harvest Report

Overall, the 2022 harvest in Beaujolais can be described as small yet fierce, with a less-than-average amount of grapes of excellent quality harvested. Melinand describes the vintage as ‘great quality in a small quantity,’ with the effects of climate change evident on the season’s conditions. “The weather was really warm, and the impact of global warming has been pretty obvious over the past few years,” she says, stating that ample drought led to rather concentrated grapes, though the region’s traditional use of carbonic maceration during vinification helped to keep the wines fresh and drinkable.

About Wines of Beaujolais 

From the foothills of the Massif Central to the Saone River plain, the rolling hills and plains of Beaujolais form a wine-growing area of 67 square miles. The peculiarity of this region is the unique co-existence of various terrains, microclimates, and granite soils which lend structure and depth to wines that are supple and fruity. While Beaujolais does produce a small number of white and rosé wines, the region is best known for its versatile, light to medium-bodied reds – all single-varietal and mostly made of Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc – which account for 95% of all wines produced in the region. Beaujolais is made up of 12 appellations: Beaujolais (red, white, and rosé), Beaujolais Villages (red, white, and rosé), and 10 Beaujolais Crus (reds only: Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly, Régnié, Morgon, Chiroubles, Fleurie, Moulin-à-Vent, Chénas, Juliénas, and Saint-Amour). 

For more information about Beaujolais and its wines, please visit www.beaujolais.com and https://carnet.beaujolais.com/en/

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