On November 16th, we toast the French tradition of Nouveau Day with the release of our 2017 Ruby Nouveau!

Nouveau Day started decades ago in winemaker Philippe’s home region of Beaujolais, France. Beaujolais is located south of Burgundy, another major French winemaking region. The Beaujolais Nouveau wine comes out each year on the third Thursday of November, just a few weeks after harvest. It’s the first wine of the vintage to be released and is considered to be a preview of the year’s growing season.

Ruby Nouveau, Wisconsin’s version of Beaujolais Nouveau, got its start in the mid-1980s. Winemaker Philippe had just arrived at Wollersheim Winery from France, and our founder Bob Wollersheim asked him to make a wine similar to what would make back home. The first Ruby Nouveau came out in 1984, and Philippe became our winemaker the following year.

Bob and Philippe
Wollersheim Winery co-founder Bob Wollersheim and winemaker Philippe Coquard with Ruby Nouveau 1984.

Traditional Beaujolais Nouveau wine is made with Gamay grapes, which are particular to that region. Our Ruby Nouveau is made from estate-grown Marechal Foch and Leon Millot grapes. The grapes for the 2017 vintage were picked from our vineyard in early September of this year. Although the grape varieties differ, we make our Ruby Nouveau with the same traditional methods of whole-berry fermentation that are used in Beaujolais. A short fermentation makes a light, fresh, fruity wine that is best enjoyed young — within six months of purchase.

Ruby Nouveau 2017 has intense color with fresh fruit flavors reminiscent of raspberries and tart cherries. Winemaker Philippe says it’s among our best vintages ever.

Ruby Nouveau
Ruby Nouveau 2017, just off the bottling line.

Each year, we hold a special barrel-tapping ceremony on Nouveau Day to celebrate the release of Ruby Nouveau. This year’s event will be held Thursday, November 16th, at noon, and is open to the public. If you can, come and raise a glass of Ruby Nouveau with Winemaker Philippe.

As they say in France, À votre santé!