Today, Celebrity Cruises will celebrate the 2009 release of the Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau with simultaneous release on all eight of its ships. “We are celebrating the Beaujolais Nouveau with music, hors d’ouvres, canapés, and cheese and roast carving stations,” said Scott Steenrod, director of food and beverage operations at Celebrity. “The 2009 Beaujolais is served from oak casks as well as bottles provided by Georges Duboeuf through AMI Duty Free of Miami.

The release has been carefully coordinated with the French wine producer. “The release of the Beaujolais is a big event in France, and we had to guarantee Georges Duboeuf and AMI that we would not open a single bottle ahead of its time,” said Steenrod.

It is the first release to be coordinated on a fleet of cruise ships, and it has been a logistical challenge not only to get the wine to the eight ships which were in Europe, New England, the Mexican Riviera and the Caribbean, but also to keep it all under wraps until Nov. 19.

Explained Chanelle Duarte, member of Celebrity’s beverage development team: “The release of the Beaujolais Nouveau is set by French law for the third Thursday of November since 1951. Each year, the grapes are harvested in September and bottled,” she said. Altogether the Beaujolais region produces something like 65 million bottles each fall. The Georges Duboeuf company represents some 400 wine growers and is the largest and most acclaimed producer of Beaujolais, and is also credited with creating the Beaujolais name for the local vin de l'année.

“It is a light, fruity type of red wine,” said Duarte, “and is meant to be drunk as young as possible. They can only be sold until May of the following year.” She said the Beaujolais is a good way to introduce people to wine, because it is light and easy to digest.” It is typically served in a white wine glass or a pinot noir glass at 50 to 55 degrees.

In conjunction with the celebration, the cellar masters on each ship are on hand to make a brief presentation about the characteristics and history of the Beaujolais, and there have been articles in the onboard daily program, Celebrity Today, and programming on the ships’ television, according to Steenrod.