Uncorking new strategy, retailers go upscale with slumping Beaujolais Nouveau

JIJI, STAFF REPORT

Retailers on Thursday started selling this year’s edition of Beaujolais Nouveau wine after the young French red’s customary release time passed at midnight Wednesday.

The fading of the Beaujolais Nouveau boom in Japan — recently marked by the heralded wine’s distribution in PET bottles — has seen a drop in traditional release-day parties, taking a bite out of imports.

Due to the international dateline, Japan is one of the first countries each year to taste the heavily marketed wine, made from gamay grapes in the Bourgogne region north of Lyon. Some consider it an harbinger of the year’s crop of new wines.

In light of the slump, however, retailers are focusing on high-priced lineups of quality wine.

On Wednesday night, the visiting Beaujolais producer’s group held a news conference in Tokyo and said this year’s vintage has perfect balance, which it credited to the summer’s rich sunshine.

Aeon Retail Co., a unit of Aeon Co., which had offered Beaujolais mainly priced at around ¥1,000 per 750-ml bottle until last year, has increased its lineup of offerings from award-winning producers and is selling them for around ¥2,000 to ¥3,000.

Asahi Breweries Ltd., a unit of Asahi Holdings Inc., has expanded its lineup of premium Beaujolais Nouveau to three brands.

In the meantime, Suntory Wine International Ltd. has launched sales of three-liter cartons to encourage restaurants to serve the young wine in glasses as part of the shift in sales strategy.

According to Asahi Breweries, imports of this year’s Beaujolais wine are expected to fall some 10 percent from the previous year to 540,000 cases, compared with 1.04 million cases during the boom’s peak in 2004. One case contains 12 750-ml bottles.

  • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

    In the outside world, this dishwater is sold by the liter for a couple of hundred ¥, but the Japanese are so snobbish, that if you tell them it’s a high class product, they will eagerly pay ten or twenty times its bargain bin value. Careful, if it rains, you’ll drown!

  • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

    In the outside world, this dishwater is sold by the liter for a couple of hundred ¥, but the Japanese are so snobbish, that if you tell them it’s a high class product, they will eagerly pay ten or twenty times its bargain bin value. Careful, if it rains, you’ll drown!

  • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

    In the outside world, this dishwater is sold by the liter for a couple of hundred ¥, but the Japanese are so snobbish, that if you tell them it’s a high class product, they will eagerly pay ten or twenty times its bargain bin value. Careful, if it rains, you’ll drown!

  • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

    In the outside world, this dishwater is sold by the liter for a couple of hundred ¥, but the Japanese are so snobbish, that if you tell them it’s a high class product, they will eagerly pay ten or twenty times its bargain bin value. Careful, if it rains, you’ll drown!

  • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

    In the outside world, this dishwater is sold by the liter for a couple of hundred ¥, but the Japanese are so snobbish, that if you tell them it’s a high class product, they will eagerly pay ten or twenty times its bargain bin value. Careful, if it rains, you’ll drown!

    • Ron Lane

      Whereas I many times agree with the sentiment of your comments, I all too often find your tone bordering on insulting. This comment in particular.

      • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

        Sorry. What I’m attempting to do is point out the cognitive dissonance of the cultural snobbery of Japan (for example, ‘Omotenashi’ can’t be translated as simply as ‘hospitality’, it has to be imbued with some uniquely ‘Japanese’ value that we NJ don’t have in our presumably selfish hospitality) that looks down it’s nose at non-Japanese cultures, but at the same time allows them to feed their sense of self-importance buy paying over the odds (due to lack of cultural awareness) for an inferior product, with n o sense of contradiction.
        In this case it’s ‘We can afford to drink this expensive foreign wine that you foreigners can’t get first’, whilst not realizing that they have been swindled into paying over the odds for throw away rubbish.

      • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

        Sorry. What I’m attempting to do is point out the cognitive dissonance of the cultural snobbery of Japan (for example, ‘Omotenashi’ can’t be translated as simply as ‘hospitality’, it has to be imbued with some uniquely ‘Japanese’ value that we NJ don’t have in our presumably selfish hospitality) that looks down it’s nose at non-Japanese cultures, but at the same time allows them to feed their sense of self-importance buy paying over the odds (due to lack of cultural awareness) for an inferior product, with n o sense of contradiction.
        In this case it’s ‘We can afford to drink this expensive foreign wine that you foreigners can’t get first’, whilst not realizing that they have been swindled into paying over the odds for throw away rubbish.

      • Ron Lane

        I understand your point, but in this case I’m not sure that “cultural snobbery” applies. Beajolais Nouveau has been very cleverly marketed in this country, targeting unsophisticated Japanese and thereby creating a fad. In this case, I sort of feel sorry for all those taken in by the scam.

      • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

        Yes, that’s the sentiment I was trying to express, and you’ve expressed it much better than I did. My apologies.

      • Ron Lane

        No worries, my friend. Keep up the good fight.

  • Nils Lennart

    Scam of the year. Unbelievable the the Japanese goes for it year after year