All over France, the New Beaujolais Festival takes place on the third Thursday in November every year, the date when wine-making ends and the wine can be sold. This fruity new wine is keenly awaited by wine-lovers, and is also a great reason to meet friends in a welcoming atmosphere.
This festival is the occasion for many events in the Beaujolais area, where celebrations often last until the end of the week. The new Beaujolais is traditionally launched with Les Sarmentelles in Beaujeu, where a procession of barrels filled with flaming vine shoots takes place before the first barrels are drilledinto, when the clock strikes midnight. Producers and wine-growers open the doors to their cellars and vaults until late at night, so visitors can taste their vintages. Restaurant owners offer menus on the theme of Beaujolais, and all villages celebrate by offering artisan products at a number of different events.