New Wine Season Begins; Merchants See Slower Sales

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2008 7:56 PM CST
A sommelier inspects the 2008 edition of a Beaujolais Nouveau wine at a bar in Paris, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008.   (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
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(Newser) – Today is the third Thursday of November, which makes it a holiday of sorts for wine merchants: Beaujolais Day. It's the first day of the year (as dictated by French law) that the first wine of the season—Beaujolais Nouveau, made from Gamay grapes—can be sold worldwide. Wine purists generally dismiss the stuff, but wise marketing has boosted sales. This year, however, doesn't look to be a strong one, reports the Wall Street Journal.

"Demand has certainly been waning," said one New York distributor. One reason is that the price has been slowly but steadily rising—a bottle will set you back $13 to $15 this year, up about a dollar. About 2.55 million bottles will be shipped to the US this year, down from the peak of about 4 million sold in 2001.