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Georges Duboeuf moves into new era

Published:  23 July, 2008

Beaujolais's most famous son, Georges Duboeuf of the eponymous wine company, had reason for triple celebration last week: the success of the perfect' 2005 vintage; the near-end of the long-running wine scandal'; and the launch of his first varietal Gamay.

The Beaujolais region in general also had reason to feel positive, with the confirmation of a three-year UK marketing campaign, set to launch in early 2007.

According to Duboeuf, the UK consumer is ready to look again at Beaujolais, which has struggled for years under the weight of poor quality perceptions and the consumer's increasing disinterest in the Beaujolais Nouveau campaign. Georges Duboeuf, which sells 300,000 cases in the UK through its agent Berkmann Wine Cellars, has been one of Beaujolais's only bright spots in the UK.

We are launching a varietal Gamay later in the year,' said Duboeuf, it is bright and modern and will complement our straight AOC Beaujolais and will sit in the same price range [at around 3.99 a bottle], although that hasn't been confirmed as of yet.'

To circumvent Beaujolais's labelling rules, the wine has been given the Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire appellation, although 100% of the grapes are from the Beaujolais region itself'.

With the 2005 vintage now hitting the UK, Duboeuf said that the Beaujolais region had a great opportunity to win back lost consumers. It's a wonderful vintage. Very ripe and fruity, but with great balance and more acidity than in 2003. I am very happy that a marketing campaign will take place in the UK. We hope to take a central part.

Michel Deflache, director of InterBeaujolais, commented: InterBeaujolais, the regional marketing board for Beaujolais wines, has decided to focus its marketing budgets on one key European market - the UK. We are currently in the process of developing a strategic campaign for tackling the UK market over the next three years, and Sopexa (UK) has been retained as the PR and marketing consultancy for both the initial research phase and the roll-out of the eventual campaign. Sopexa (UK) is currently investigating consumer and trade attitudes to, and perceptions of, the range of Beaujolais available on the UK market (from Beaujolais through to the 10 Crus) through a series of qualitative research initiatives including focus groups and one-to-one interviews. The new campaign is likely to be implemented in early 2007.'

Duboeuf also said that he was pleased that the judgement in the winemaking scandal - in which an employee was found to have blended together wines from different quality levels illegally - was coming close to a finish. The judgement will be given on 4 July. It is likely to be an anti-climax and result in a fine. The wine involved represented less than 1% of our production, the wine was never bottled or sold and the person responsible has been fired,' he said.