The Beaujolais wine region is a small 55 km belt of vineyards nestled between Burgundy to the North and the city of Lyon to the South. This small and fascinating region has all the attributes which go into producing stunning, complex and elegant wines to match those of Burgundy, its neighbour. A single varietal, Gamay, is used to express the rich diversity of terroirs* this region has to offer.


Though considered part of the Rhône administration region, Beaujolais is occasionally considered part of Burgundy as it sits just south of the world-renowned wine region.

Running north to south, the wine growing region starts just south of Mâcon, and travels almost 70km down to the western bank of the Saône river above the city of Lyon.


Beaujolais has a history dating back to Roman times. The region’s ideal location, close to the Saône and Rhône Rivers as well as to the city of Lyon, helped its development over the years. However, it was in the 17th century that the region first increased its production as it began supplying wine to the insatiable appetite of the Lyon Bourgeoisie.

Since then, Beaujolais has grown and has now acquired global awareness through both its ups and downs. It is only recently, though, that the region has committed itself to increasing the quality of its wines to meet the full extent of its natural potential. This is a great time to witness such an evolution and to buy these wines at what remains great value for money. What’s particularly exciting is that they stand to get even better over the coming years.

Climate & Soil

The vineyards of Beaujolais are spread across a marvellous hilly landscape facing from northeast to southwest, which exposes the grapes to a constant golden sun. This gorgeous sunlight is not to be missed as it helps to ripen the grapes and the slopes allow them to capture the complexity within the soils, which adds to their natural variety. At an average height of 300 metres above sea level and rising to 1,000 metres, the vineyards benefit from soil types that vary from granite and schist in the north to clay and marl in the south. This difference in terroir distinctly separates the wines produced, with the crus of Beaujolais sitting mostly to the north while the nouveau wines are produced further south.

Influenced by the Massif Central in the west and the Alps in the east, Beaujolais hosts an almost continental climate. A warm growing season allows for the production of ripe grapes with fresh and fruity flavours characterised by nouveau wines.

Gamay being the grape of choice for the region, it requires meticulous care and attention in the vineyard. Reflecting its own plantings, the more vines, the more grapes, therefore yields are managed extremely well in Beaujolais. With short, goblet-style pruning as one of the preferred methods of management, Beaujolais wine growers have got the monopoly on mastering Gamay's natural exuberance to bring out its best qualities.



Gamay has been grown in the Beaujolais area since the early 17th century, with the region proving to be the perfect terroir for the varietal. Thin and delicate in nature, Gamay grapes are cylindrical and compact, with flat, even-edged leaves. With around 15,000 hectares planted in Beaujolais, it accounts for 98% of plantings.

This early-ripening varietal produces red wines that are lively and bright, and flexible enough to be young and fresh as well as aged to perfection.

The Beaujolais Wine Council, Inter Beaujolais, brought in an International Gamay Competition in 2010, to boost the image and reputation of the varietal among drinkers and makers around the world.

The other 2% of vines in the region are Chardonnay grapes. Primarily growing in the far north of the region, close to Mâcon. Found to be planted in a triangle-shaped area of land between Liergues, Le Bois d’Oingt and Bully. More and more winegrowers are switching to white wines as it is more popular among drinkers.


The wines of Beaujolais are classified into three different appellations based on their quality.

Beaujolais AOC

Within the Beaujolais regional appellation the grapes can be grown anywhere across the 72 communes included in the region (although mostly from the south where the land is flat and the soil is less complex). These wines are usually soft and fruity with an interesting complexity.


Located in the northern area of the region, the wines are made from grapes grown in the 38 villages included in the AOC. Surrounding the Beaujolais Crus upon steep slopes of 200-500 metres in elevation, the terroir varies as much as the villages do. Southern based village wines are fruitier and in the nouveau style, while the northern wines surround the crus are richer and more structured.

Beaujolais Crus

The highest quality wines of the region are classified as Crus, named after their village of origin. Only 10 villages are awarded this highest distinction, located solely in the north of the region and planted on slopes. The wines here are deep in flavour, complex, layered and can age for decades. These Cru wines are red wines only made from Gamay Noir.

From North to South, below is the list of the Crus of Beaujolais:

Saint-Amour, Juliénas, Chenas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Côte de Brouilly, Brouilly.

All these Crus have a distinctive taste which is testament to the diversity of this beautiful wine region.