All over France, on the third Thursday in November the Beaujolais Nouveau Festival takes place every year. This is the time of year when wine-making ends and the wine can start to  be sold. This fruity new wine is keenly awaited by wine-lovers the world over, and is also a great reason to visit this region at this time.


This festival is the occasion for many events in the Beaujolais area, where celebrations often last until the end of the week. The new Beaujolais is traditionally launched with Les Sarmentelles in Beaujeu, where a procession of barrels filled with flaming vine shoots takes place before the first barrels are drilled into, when the clock strikes midnight. 

Producers and wine-growers open the doors to their cellars and vaults until late at night, so visitors can taste their vintages. Restaurant owners offer menus on the theme of Beaujolais, and all villages celebrate by offering artisan products at a number of different events.

The Gamay grapes that go into Beaujolais Nouveau are handpicked in the Beaujolais province of France. The wine actually originated about a century ago as a cheap and cheerful drink produced by locals to celebrate the end of the harvest season but these days it's arrival is eagerly anticipated everywhere.