• Kyodo

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The first shipment of bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau, to be unsealed worldwide next week, arrived at Narita and Kansai airports early Friday, as fans and label collectors waited eagerly for the 2002 vintage.

This year, imports of the wine from the Beaujolais region near Lyon in southwestern France are expected to reach a record-high 600,000 cases, up 50,000 from last year, importers said. Each case contains 12 750-ml bottles.

The wine is traditionally released for consumption on the third Thursday of November.

Japanese breweries are fortifying their wine business, which has contributed to the increase this year, according to observers.

The importers said this year’s vintage is particularly good, with a rich bouquet and fruity flavor.

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