Every third Thursday of November, people around the world celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau Day, marking the release of the purple-pink wine cultivated in France’s Beaujolais region. Ensuring that the popular wine arrived by November 15 this year — allowing consumers to proclaim “Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!” —required complicated logistics moves by a number of carriers, including Air France-KLM and Lufthansa Cargo.
Air France-KLM Cargo-Martinair Cargo’s Jean-Claude Raynaud told Air Cargo World that getting the wine to market by its deadline date remained Air France-KLM’s top priority. “[Beaujolais Nouveau Day] is a recurrent event, year after year, in terms of transportation,” he said, “and we have always been present to handle it.”
In a press release, Air France-KLM said it transported 2,000 tonnes of wine in advance of Beaujolais Nouveau Day — a 33-percent increase over 2011’s total. Japan demanded the majority of the wine, AF-KLM said, with 1,400 tonnes bound for Tokyo’s Narita International Airport and Osaka’s Kansai International Airport.
China and the U.S. trailed Japan in wine demand, accounting for a respective 277 tonnes and 100 tonnes of Beaujolais Nouveau carried on AF-KLM passenger and freighter aircraft. Raynaud told Air Cargo World that shipping the Beaujolais Nouveau by air provides key benefits over other modes of transportation.
“Being a sort of ‘time-definite’ product — with respect to the third Thursday of November deadline, and because the date of liberation is close to the first drinking day — for very far destinations, such as Asia, South America and Africa, air transportation is [preferable],” Raynaud said.
Lufthansa Cargo has also seen hefty volumes of Beaujolais Nouveau on its flights. In total, the German freight carrier transported 550 tonnes of wine in advance of November 15, with the single biggest shipment occurring on a Tokyo-bound flight on November 6; Lufthansa hauled 39 tonnes of Beaujolais Nouveau on that flight.