Beaujolais Nouveau always arrives in style, be it in a Concorde jet or graffiti-tagged vintage Cadillac. In recent years, Nouveau leader Les Vins Georges Duboeuf has asked its imaginative fans what sort of vibe to give the first wine of the vintage via its Beaujolais Nouveau Artist Label Contest, and this year more artists than ever clamored to dress the 2020 bottles with their designs. Now we have a winner.
This year, the contest nearly doubled its participation from previous years with more than 1,000 submissions and 10,000-plus votes cast on social media, Duboeuf CEO Franck Duboeuf told Unfiltered. The 2020 Grand Prize winner is California-based artist Maeve Croghan, whose submission, Russet Vines, gets her $3,500 and pride of place on the front of an estimated 1 million bottles of 2020 Beaujolais Nouveau and Nouveau rosé when they roll out on the traditional third Thursday of November.
Croghan told us she found inspiration in her own backyard. “This painting, Russet Vines, has the lovely rich red colors that emulate the November vineyards in the winegrowing region in which I live,” said Croghan (that would be Mendocino). “I thought for a Beaujolais Nouveau, these colors would be perfect together.”
As a nature artist, “vineyards have been a major aspect of my painting career for over 25 years,” she said. “I love their charismatic twisty shapes, especially of the old vines.” Franck Duboeuf agrees. “Maeve’s painting is a perfect depiction of the vines when the leaves start to fall and the first glass of Nouveau is ready to be shared … In addition to our work with artists in the U.S., we also support artists worldwide, commissioning various labels for the wines we sell in other countries.”
Although Croghan didn’t hear about the contest until just two days before the deadline, she was introduced to the Beaujolais Nouveau nearly 20 years ago on a trip to Paris. “It was November and the shops all had big signs saying, ‘It’s Here!’” Croghan said. “I tried it then, and it was wonderful.”—E.B.
Everything is relative for wineries in the Primum Familiae Vini association (PFV) … literally. Family ownership is a requirement for the PFV’s members, who now number 12, including such clans as the Antinoris, the Drouhins and the Rothschilds (Mouton branch). Preserving family enterprises is central to the group’s credo and the impetus for its newly announced Family Is Sustainability award, a 100,000-euro ($113,000) prize that will go to one family-owned business that embodies PFV principles.
“Only 16 percent of family businesses survive through the first generation,” PFV president Marc Perrin, of the Rhône Perrins and Châteauneuf-du-Pape's Château de Beaucastel, told Unfiltered via email. “Family companies in all countries are at risk due to economic turmoil and other threats.” Contenders will espouse environmental sustainability and social responsibility, must be involved in their work’s day-to-day, and need to show that they're training up a new generation. Not among the requirements: making wine.
“The PFV wants to help by championing exemplary family companies whose commitment to craftsmanship mirrors the PFV’s commitment,” Perrin explained, “in any area of enterprise such as wine, restaurants, hotels, jewelry, books, leather and all forms of artisanship.” Businesses can apply for the 2020 prize until Oct. 30., and the new "first"-(place) family will be announced in March 2021.—C.D.
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