If you listen very carefully as the clock strikes midnight on November 16, you may hear the triumphant sound of people uncorking wine bottles. This noise announces the arrival of this year's Beaujolais Nouveau, and means it's time to celebrate. Since early September, winemakers have been harvesting grapes, and now is the time to enjoy (sorry, I can't help myself) the fruits of their labor.
Celebrating the first wine of the season has been a tradition in France for centuries. According to French law, it's illegal to open a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau before the third Thursday in November. On the night before, bars and restaurants overflow with people counting down the final seconds until the wine is released. The following day is filled with more than 120 events and activities, including a food fair, marathon, street music, staged concerts, and, of course, wine tastings.
However, don't despair if you can't make it to France this year, because celebrations take place all over the world, including in several major U.S. cities. Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, New Orleans, and Dallas are just a few places celebrating the new vintage, with many events taking place Friday or over the weekend.
If your city isn't hosting a major event, check with local restaurants and bars, as many throughout the country are offering a special menu or wine tasting. And if all else fails, you can always throw your own Beaujolais Nouveau party, because the real event is toasting a job well done.