This year’s new Beaujolais has just arrived. Fermented for just a few weeks, this vin nouveau wine is put on sale at one minute past midnight (French time), on the third Thursday of November; a phenomenon that goes far beyond the French borders.
Last year, about 31 million bottles were placed on the market, with over 40% of the wine’s production being exported to 110 countries. Seven million bottles are consumed by the Japanese, making them the biggest fans of Beaujolais nouveau, way ahead of the Americans and the Germans.
And to be able to taste this vin primeur or young wine at the same time around the world, a whole logistics programme had to be established, requiring Beaujolais nouveau to leave the French territory only 17 days before its release for sale.
Airlines, like Cathay Pacific, must therefore plan accordingly. This year in the space of two weeks, thanks to its Boeing 747’s, the Chinese Hong Kong based airline, sent nearly two million bottles to Asia; that’s over 1,900 metric tonnes, a record, up 37 % compared to 2013.
In total, 32 Cathay Pacific flights participated in the operation, of which six were cargo exclusively dedicated to the transportation of the new Beaujolais. And to ensure optimal treatment of the goods the company even offered its customers the use of special refrigerated containers to keep the delicate cargo within specific temperature ranges, in order that the Beaujolais nouveau would not be altered during the flight.