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Quintessential, Duboeuf Mounting Renewed Nouveau Push Despite Headwinds

October 22, 2021

“The last three years have been very difficult for French wines, particularly for Beaujolais Nouveau.” Quintessential co-owner Dennis Kreps tells SND, alluding to tariffs on French wines raised in 2019 and the subdued on-premise environment since the beginning of the pandemic. Still, amid reports of price hikes on Beaujolais Nouveau this year—prompted not only by the above factors but also the 40%-50% fall in Beaujolais production overall this harvest—Quintessential and partner Georges Duboeuf are holding prices steady, aiming to restore momentum to the category.

Duboeuf’s Beaujolais Nouveau is set to remain at around $13.50 a bottle on retail shelves this year, while its Nouveau Rosé will hold at $13 and Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau will be around $15. There will be about 20% less volume this year owing to the reduced harvest, however.

Overall, Kreps says Duboeuf’s U.S. volume has held roughly steady the past two years despite the challenges, which he says is remarkable given the brand’s strong on-premise presence. According to Impact Databank, the Georges Duboeuf brand depleted approximately 160,000 cases in the U.S. last year.

“The one category that has suffered, and will need the most support to recover, is the Domaines and Cru portfolio,” says Kreps. “These wines often require the personal hand-sell at table, and with many restaurants closed or working at limited capacity over the last 24 months, those wines have certainly seen a hit.” As the on-premise recovery gathers pace, he explains, Quintessential will be looking to reassert those higher-end Beaujolais wines on American wine lists.—Daniel Marsteller

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