There are traces of vine culture since 957, yet, curiously, it was only in July 1395 that the DIJON edict issued by Philippe LE HARDI allowed for a veritable promotion of the GAMAY NOIR Ó JUS BLANC grape variety in the Beaujolais regionů in absolutely forbidding it in BURGUNDY!
The creation of navigable routes (the BRIARE canal started under HENRI IV, and finished under COLBERT, the CENTRE canal that allowed cargo to be loaded in MACON) meant that the sales area could be extended as far as Paris. Rail transport before the end of the 19th century, lorries on the European motorway network, then more recently jumbo jets on the world air routes completed the whole that is a central factor of the present prosperity of BEAUJOLAIS by aiding the exportation of 50% of the annual harvest.
Beaujolais is unique and wealthy in its diversity. Beaujolais should be spoken of in the plural and can be divided into 3 families of wines:
- BAUJOLAIS (10 000 ha): this is the largest appellation area making up 50% of the total production in the vinegrowing area. Around half of this (350 000 hl) is put on sale on the 3rd Thursday of November as BEAUJOLAIS NOUVEAU. These wines are easy to drink, fruity and brimming with youth. They are the most convivial wines that exist.
- BEAUJOLAIS VILLAGES (6000 ha): these make up 25% in volume of the winemaking area's total production. They are produced on 39 communes, these are richer, deeper wines than BEAUJOLAIS. A third is sold as BEAUJOLAIS VILLAGES NOUVEAU.
- n The CRUS : make up 25% of the total harvest. There are 10 of them. They are the flower of the wine production in the Beaujolais winemaking area. They can be aged (3 to 7 years), in order from the lightest to the heaviest::
- BROUILLY (1 300 ha): THE MOST 'WIDESPREAD' of the Beaujolais Crus. It is a wine with a deep ruby robe and aromas of reed fruits and plum and has a winey body.
- CHENAS (280 ha): THE 'RAREST' of the Beaujolais Crus. Its robe is ruby tinted with garnet, the aromas are floral to woody, a direct link to the name, and a fleshy and unctuous body.
- CHIROUBLES (370 ha): THE 'HIGHEST' in altitude on the Beaujolais Crus, the wine's airy qualities come from this. The wine has flower aromas (violet, lily of the valley, peony), and is delicately velvety.
- COTE DE BROUILLY (320 ha): THE MOST 'CENTRAL' of the Beaujolais Crus. The vines are grown on the hill of the same name in the heart of the Beaujolais vinegrowing area, it is a racy wine clothed in crimson with aromas of fresh grapes with a balanced body.
- FLEURIE (860 ha): THE MOST 'FEMININE' of the Beaujolais Crus. It is the 'Queen' of Beaujolais. With its carmine robe and floral aromas (iris, rose, violet) it is elegance itself.
- JULIENAS (600 ha): THE MOST 'PARISIAN' of the Beaujolais Crus. Its robe is ruby with purple-blue tints, it has fruity or floral (strawberry, wood fragrances) aromas, with a vigorous body that becomes rounder over time.
- MORGON (1 100 ha): THE MOST 'MORGONNING' of the Beaujolais Crus. Its robe is deep carmine and its aromas are of ripe stone fruit (cherry, peach), it is a wine with a virile body which improves with age.
- MOULIN A VENT (650 ha): THE 'OLDEST' of the Beaujolais Crus. Its ruby robe with purple shades is deep. Its red fruit aromas become a bouquet of old rose and spice with age. The body is robust. It's a wine to wait for.
- REGNIE (550 ha): THE 'YOUNGEST' of the Beaujolais Crus (1988). It is a beautiful ruby colour and has aromas of small red fruit (blackberry, red currant), this wine has overall finesse.
- SAINT AMOUR (310 ha): THE MOST 'NORTHERN' of the Beaujolais Cru has an almost purple-blue robe, kirsch and mignonette aromas and a tender and harmonious body.