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Friday, September 01, 2006

Beaujolais Run 

At midnight, on the third Thursday each November, a race begins in Mâcon, France, accompanied by celebrations and parties. The earliest wine of the year's new vintage, Beaujolais Nouveau, is released and participants from around the world aim to be the first to take bottles back to their homeland. It is an annual event that is particularly big in Europe and the UK. Producing wine for such an early release date requires technical skill and a lot of luck; the weather can play havoc with the harvest and the resulting wine can be variable in quality but it all provides an excuse for a great deal of charity fund raising, plus the excuse to have a tasting at breakfast.

However, wine lovers will find that there is more to this region of France than the Beaujolais Run. A prestigious wine contest, the oldest in France, is held here and there is an innovative museum dedicated to the winemakers art. If you are interested in wine tours, the Syndicat d'inititiative de la routes des vins Mâconnais - Beaujolais, provides online maps and information about 8 tourist circuits. Art lovers should not miss the Romanesque art (Cluny, Tournus) and for lovers of literature there is a museum and tourist route devoted to the great French writer, Alphonse de Lamartine. As for lovers of good food, well there is an abundance to be enjoyed, all washed down with a glass of the regions many fine wines.

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