Wine fanatics beware: Provide chain issues put the squeeze on this 12 months’s eagerly awaited Beaujolais Nouveau haul


Bottles of the 2016 classic Beaujolais Nouveau wine are displayed at a countdown occasion in Tokyo on November 17, 2016.

Yoshikazu Tsuno | Gamma-Rapho | Getty Pictures

WASHINGTON – Yearly on the third Thursday of November, at precisely 12:01 a.m., the French launch their celebrated first wine of the harvest — the crisp and fruity Beaujolais Nouveau.

This 12 months, American oenophiles woke as much as a Beaujolais Nouveau market hampered by provide chain issues which have turn into all-too-common in as we speak’s financial system, significantly driver shortages and different delivery points.

And all of that interprets into value will increase for suppliers and customers alike.

“There are undoubtedly points with the availability chain. There’s all the time an issue with containers and there is all the time an issue with area on ships, nevertheless it’s been actually tough this 12 months,” stated Dennis Kreps, co-founder of importer Quintessential Wines, which relies in California’s Napa Valley.

The market was already at a drawback as a result of local weather issues. Beaujolais Nouveau manufacturing was down almost 50% this 12 months due to spring frost and hail, adopted by a drought.

“It is sort of a phenomenon that is occurring worldwide proper now,” Kreps stated. “I do know a number of the numbers in France particularly are down dramatically throughout all areas. Beaujolais was one of many hardest hit.”

Delicate grapes, robust issues

Kreps, the unique U.S. importer of outstanding wine service provider Georges Duboeuf, coordinates with a small staff on the colossal logistics of distributing the wine to American retailers on the exact French schedule.

In Beaujolais, thought of a subregion of Burgundy, vineyards carpet roughly 42,000 acres of low granite hills north of Lyon in japanese France.

Right here is the place thin-skinned magenta gamay grapes are queen and Georges Duboeuf is king.

Duboeuf, affectionately known as “Papa of Beaujolais,” has the gamay grapes hand-harvested in September. Then follows a fast fermentation and bottling in October.

A picker cuts grapes at a winery in Beaujolais, japanese France, on early September 3, 2018, throughout this 12 months’s first Beaujolais’ harvest.

Philippe Desmazes | AFP | Getty Pictures

The Beaujolais Nouveau wine – usually mild in physique with a juicy fruit-forward palate – is then shipped around the globe and staged for its November debut.

First, Beaujolais suppliers wanted to safe containers to start delivery. Then they have been involved about delays on the ports.

“You possibly can’t management the backlog on the ports,” Kreps stated.

One ship was rerouted from New York to Norfolk, Virginia, as a result of a serious backup, he stated. The ship destined for New York usually carries the vast majority of the wine meant to be distributed throughout the nation, Kreps added.

“We then needed to reroute the entire drivers and the vans from New York all the way down to Norfolk after which get the containers off the ship and get these guys rolling to the West Coast instantly,” Kreps stated.

Additionally they had issues hiring certified drivers as a result of a labor scarcity, he stated.

“We have by no means had a problem earlier than, however one truck had a flip over so all the things on that container was misplaced,” he stated. “So, sadly, all of the wine for Arkansas was misplaced, a lot of the wine for Memphis was misplaced, and I believe a big portion of the wine for West Virginia was misplaced.”

Beaujolais grapes lie in a basket within the “Moulin a Vent” winery, close to Chenas, Beaujolais, japanese France on August 26, 2015, after this 12 months’s first Beaujolais’ harvest.

Jean-Philippe Ksiazek | AFP | Getty Pictures

But even with all the availability and manufacturing issues – freight prices have tripled and the price of the fruit itself was considerably greater, as effectively – a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau will promote this 12 months for under a barely greater retail value than ordinary, Kreps stated.

“We had already dedicated to pricing to all of our wholesalers, the wholesalers name the retailers, the retailers had then dedicated portions,” he stated. “Now’s not the time to return to them with a price improve. So we labored with the vineyard and ate the associated fee.”

Kreps did have a optimistic message for the people who find themselves in a position to get their palms on a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau: Regardless of all of the difficulties with the availability chain and the small harvest, he stated, “the standard is implausible.”