Wine on Time Means No Whining

Important days of note in the eleventh month of the year: In the U.S., the first Tuesday after the first Monday of the month is Election Day; the fourth Thursday of November, by law, is Thanksgiving Day; for the entire world, by French law, the third Thursday – beginning at 12:00:01 a.m. local time – is Beaujolais Nouveau drinking day.

The amount of time between harvesting the grapes, turning them into wine and getting the wine into bottles is relatively short, meaning that moving Beaujolais Nouveau from France to the 150 countries awaiting its arrival poses logistical challenges.

DHL Danzas Air & Ocean begins preparations in June, negotiating with airlines for cargo space, even chartering six complete aircraft to move the wine when it’s ready. At delivery time, within two weeks DHL collects 2,200 tonnes of the wine, moving it from Lyon’s Saint-Exupéry airport – and other European airports including Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and London -- to destinations around the world within four days.

DHL Express delivers more than 125,000 bottles of the wine throughout France. The carrier says its major destinations for Beaujolais Nouveau are the U.S. (1,100 tonnes), Japan (700 tonnes) and Canada (150 tonnes).

For its part in serving, for example, Japanese customers, UPS Supply Chain Solutions began logistic planning and operations at the beginning of the year. It has chartered seven cargo aircraft to fly the wine from two French airports – at Vatry and Châteauroux – and one at Brescia, Italy. The cargo will move to Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka, then on to Japanese wine and spirit merchants.

By tradition, Beaujolais Nouveau is characterized as first of the French wines of the new vintage and so is supposed to indicate the quality of the entire harvest for the year. True or not, it has received a heavy dose of marketing over time and for some consumers, being among the first to taste it is somewhat of a mark of sophistication. Generally the wine lacks body and tends to lose its attraction quite quickly. It has been described as being as close to a white wine as a red wine can get.

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