It began in 1972 when a journalist challenged Fleet Street to “Bring Back the Beaujolais” to London copying the similar “race” to get the first bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau wine to Paris. In those days the new vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau could not by law be allowed to leave the producers’ cellars near Macon until midnight on the first Thursay in November. Hence numerous serious (and not so serious) attempts were made by car, train, plane etc to get the first bottles to London but the RAF rather spoiled the party by using a Harrier Jump-Jet and broke all records!
Of course, in the meantime, the popularity of Beaujolais Nouveau has plummeted, so much so that it can be difficult to find in the UK, and many wine merchants do not bother to import it. Our tastes have changed in the last 36 years and we now have such a wide range of more interesting and better value wines to choose from. The tragedy is that much in the way that Liebfraumilch tarnished the image of much better German wines, so Nouveau led consumers to avoid proper Beaujolais, which whilst still a ligher fruitier style than say Syrah, can nevertheless offer some classy drinking and some wines of depth and complexity.
However, there is still a celebration of Nouveau and its Anglo-French tradition with a charity event using classic British cars, and focussed more on fundraising and the shortest distance rather than speed. The only drawback of this approach is that many classic sports cars have precious little boot space for those cases of wine!
In 2006, by kind permission by Lord March, The Beaujolais Run® made its spiritual home at Goodwood. In the same year, the event became a five day event showcasing the best the UK and France has to offer. Hackett is synonymous with this as overall event sponsor.
For 2008 The Beaujolais Run® hits London and Paris. Starting by kind permission of Sir Terence Conran from Bibendum in Kensington. The ‘Run then halts in Paris for a reception at the British Embassy before the following day sees the navigational shoot out at the heart of the event en route to Macon. A black tie prize giving dinner awaits competitors in Paris on the return leg, before returning to London to light up the King Road to celebrate the return of the new harvest.
The Beaujolais Run ® has evolved to become a navigational shoot out over a cryptic checkpoint course in deepest Burgundy. This format ensures Austin and Aston, Jaguar and Jalpa and Porsche and Prius can compete on a level playing field. Maps, Sat Nav and Laptops are all acceptable modes of navigation on the event. Teams compete for the honour of achieving P1 on the grid the following year (highest fundraising team) and P2, the team that covers the shortest distance on the navigational trial.
For more info on The Beaujolais Run ® see www.beaujolaisrun.com
Beaujolais Nouveau day is the rhird Thursday in November! – see Beaujolais Nouveau
UPDATE – I hear from Ed Green that there is at least one other Beaujolais event:-
Hackett is not the only “Charity Bojolly Run”. We have been running an event for over 20 years and for the past decade we have offered Quality Crus to match trhe Crews and Cruise. We run our event from deep in Beaujolais (Blace to be precise)and use local producers including those in Fleurie. Hackett is an event for the well heeled who can afford anythingand they don’t seem to actually go into Beuajolais (ie they stop in Macon and Paris?). Our event will be covering the Beaujolais Crus and making a visit to Champagne while working for two charities. Anyone interested in the 2009 event – get in touch with me (email@example.com). And furthermore it is NOT a race. It’s a navigation skills event.