Beaujolais Nouveau launch disrupted by uncertainties caused by Covid-19

Thursday October 15 2020 by Vitisphere

 The only certainty in the current market chaos is the decline in volumes marketed as Nouveau. The only certainty in the current market chaos is the decline in volumes marketed as Nouveau. - Photo credit : InterBeaujolais

After a number of negociants gained the upper hand at the end of September by announcing purchase prices below €180 /hl for 2020 Beaujolais Nouveau (-10% compared to normal), wine growers fought back and prevented contracts from being registered with the marketing board for less than €200 /hl, the usual going rate. After getting off to a turbulent start, the Nouveau campaign has now settled at a trade price point of €190 /hl in October.


Although tensions have now subsided, the bulk selling season is anything but a walk in the park, and market uncertainties are uppermost in everyone’s minds. “Beaujolais Nouveau is not just a wine, it’s an event. We have no idea if it will go ahead, or how. Trends everywhere are negative and there is a major question mark over the hospitality industry and with wine merchants’”, explained Pierre Gernelle, director of the Burgundy negociant federation.


Few firm orders have been placed for the French market, and buyers have put options on wines contingent on the ongoing health crisis, indicating there will be last-minute sales. This has led to fears among producers of a ‘second wave’ of Nouveau purchases at very low prices. “Most buyers have completed their Nouveau campaign. Inevitably, less scrupulous buyers are waiting in the wings”, said Richard Olivier, secretary of the Burgundy wine brokers’ organisation.


We are going to lose thousands of hectolitres of Nouveau, but the volumes will be used to service growing markets for fruit-forward wines. Our markets are balanced and our wines align with demand”, claimed winegrower David Ratignier who chairs the producers’ organisation and is vice-president of the Beaujolais wine marketing board Inter Beaujolais.


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