Japan: Has Beaujolais Nouveau gone sour?

As the date changes at midnight on the third Thursday of November, corks come out of bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau and the celebration begins — in Japan. This has been an annual event since the 1980s, the period when the country enjoyed its bubble economy. The tradition still carries on, as many gather at restaurants and bars to enjoy the chance to taste the year's new brew before anyone else in the world does. Others not only drink the wine, but bathe in it.

Beaujolais Nouveau

The release of Beaujolais Nouveau was a popular topic last week among bloggers, including masakoski:


I hadn't tried beaujolais nouveau 2007 yet, so I asked [my brother] to buy it at the nearby 7-Eleven and drank it!
This year's beaujolais [nouveau] was delicious!

Although Japan is still by far the largest importer of Beaujolais Nouveau, sales have been declining. Bloggers point out various reasons for this trend.

As Japanese blogger tokorin25 writes, people are starting to question the quality of this overvalued wine:


It is understanadable why the celebration has lost the party spirit it once had. It is because people now have a taste for wine.

Another blogger writes:


Even though it is all-you-can-drink, I can't drink it much.
It's not that tasty, you know. It's watery.
I find regular red wine much tastier,
but when I hear the word “kaikin”, it kind of makes me want to drink it, and above all it is a celebration. I guess it's like a harvest festival.

“2007 Beaujolais nouveau released!: Glass 600yen, Bottle 3,200yen” reads a sign at a Tokyo restaurant.

This blogger shares his sarcasm about the tradition:


It all started a long time ago, when a few well-versed wine drinkers played a game to see who would get beaujolais nouveau first, and it spread to be what it is now.
I cannot help imagining those wine connoissers in Europe who started the game, seeing Japanese people who — with very little idea — say “beaujolais on the release day is really good” and going “you idiots, don't you know it's just a game. G・A・M・E”
Like Christmas and St. Valentine's Day, it's typical of Japanese, and it's ok.

sovversivo creazione, a high school student, shares their observations:



Apparently, the third Thursday of November is the day it is realsed…
I've heard about it a lot recently, but Japan purchases most of the exports.

In fact, you can get it at a much cheaper price in [France].
Well, it sounds like we are in a rich country, but prices are going up because of the rise in the price of oil, and I am worrying about the family budget.
I mean, a lot of things have gotten expensive…
I guess searching for a new enegery is important, but now that we have grown too rich, shouldn't Japan reassess the way we conserve energy, and our usage of efficient energy?

Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.