The year’s first shipment of Beaujolais Nouveau wine arrived at Tokyo’s Haneda airport from Paris last week ahead of its release on 21 November.
Japan Today reported that when the first Nouveau is released in the country, it will be available for 2,400 yen per bottle.
Japan is the largest buyer of the young wine outside France, accounting for more than half of overseas sales. The country take three times more Beaujolais Nouveau than the US. The third Thursday in November marks the official debut of Beaujolais, and the Japanese, because of their time zone, are first to get a taste.
“This drink is most popular in Japan among women aged between 20 and their late 40s, but the arrival of the Beaujolais Nouveau creates a major media stir every year and we are seeing a broader consumer base this year,” said Yokoyama, a general manager of the corporate communications department of Mercian Corporation.
It was reported that the Japanese turned crazy for Beaujolais Nouveau in the late 1980s, when the French shipped and stored bottles of the weeks old and barely fermented wine to Japan in advance of the release date. Under vineyard rules, not a drop of Beaujolais Nouveau could be touched before the third Thursday of November.
One of the Beaujolais Nouveau importers, Suntory Wine International, said that Japan will bring in about 8.5 million 750ml bottles this year. The record was set nearly a decade ago, when 12.5 million bottles were sold in Japan in 2004.