Beaujolais Day – the next day to be celebrated in this Thursday centring around wine.
Beaujolais Day is a day of festivities in France and has continued to be a sensation in Swansea, Wales. Traditionally celebrated on the third Thursday of November to honour the last of the harvest with glasses of ‘nouveau’, or new, wine from grapes picked earlier that year, this day is filled with fireworks, music, good food, the accompaniment of people and the best of the young wine from the Beaujolais province.
Swansea celebrates this day in style: the inhabitants of the city finish their day early at lunchtime to head to restaurants and bars to enjoy a holiday filled with wine and good company. Everyone dresses up in their best, ready to celebrate from lunchtime through the night.
The day originally started when Beaujolais growers toasted the end of the harvest with the new wine created from grapes harvested that same year to create a beautiful purply-pink wine. Beaujolais nouveau wine is made with the gamay grape which comes from the southern part of Beaujolais AOC, and what is extra special about these grapes is that they must be harvested by hand.
What is interesting about Beaujolais Day in the UK is that only the Welsh seem to celebrate it. The Scots and the French have a rich history dating back centuries, all the way to the ‘Auld Alliance’ which is dated around the 13th century. Throughout the years, the comradery between the two nations prospered and the most legendary historical figure who links the two is none other than Mary, Queen of Scots. During the centuries, wines have been imported into the port town of Leith and were consumed by the Scottish elite in Edinburgh. Nowadays, the import and exports between Scotland and France are a big part of the current relationships. In 2019, France was Scotland’s biggest export with our fresh salmon as the greatest exported product.
As Scotland has a rich historical connection with France, perhaps we should enjoy the great national holidays associated between the two countries. Beaujolais Day is a holiday celebrating the last of the harvest grapes and would be a wonderful way to honour the history, connections and, of course, the new wine.