logo terra vitis
Close this search box.

Sustainable viticulture in Beaujolais with Terra Vitis

Most famous for its Beaujolais Nouveau, whose release in November is a good reason for a celebration in France or abroad, the Beaujolais wine region has many other surprises for those who make the effort to discover them. From Mâcon to Lyon, the region boasts a wide variety of wines – fine red wines, rosés and whites – best discovered by virtue of Terra Vitis grape farmers and winegrowers, who are committed to sustainable practices.

3 things to know about Beaujolais wines

3 choses à savoir

In the Beaujolais, red wines are made using a unique, traditional method known as semi-carbonic maceration. This consists of placing whole, unpressed bunches of grapes in closed tanks where alcoholic fermentation takes place slowly (over a period of four to eight days, depending on the wine). This is the typical method for producing Beaujolais Nouveau.

3 choses à savoir

The red wines made in Beaujolais come from a single grape variety, Gamay, which expresses different aromas depending on the terroir. Since there are more than 300 different soils in Beaujolais, this makes for a multitude of variations…

3 choses à savoir

Beaujolais is a region, a wine appellation and also one of France’s seven UNESCO Geoparks.

Geography of the Beaujolais wine region

Situated between Mâcon to the north and Lyon to the south, on a strip of land about 15 km wide between the foothills of the Massif Central and the River Saône, Beaujolais is a continuation of the Burgundy wine region.

Although its surface area is relatively modest (about 20 hectares), a variety of red, rosé and white wines are produced here, made possible by the area’s extraordinary geological diversity.

There are no less than 300 different types of soil in the wine region, giving rise to an infinite number of micro-terroirs and making each vineyard plot completely unique.

for example, grow on an area that includes almost all the soil types identified in the region (granite, bluestone, acidic volcanic rocks, limestone sediments, etc.), whereas a few kilometres away, in the vineyards of the Chiroubles cru, the soil is almost exclusively composed of granite. This wide, sometimes strongly contrasting, variation gives Beaujolais wines different personalities that merit exploring in wine tastings. 


In terms of the climate, this is much more uniform: Beaujolais vineyards are subject to a temperate continental climate, protected from both Mediterranean and oceanic influences by the foothills of the Massif Central.

région beaujolais

Grape varieties of Beaujolais

Beaujolais is undoubtedly the land of the Gamay grape, which reigns supreme in over 98% of the region’s production. Mainly red wines are produced from this grape, as well as a few rosés, although these are quite rare. All are single-varietal wines as opposed to blends (ie. made by combining two or more grape varieties).


Increasing numbers of white wines are being made in Beaujolais, and single varietal wines made from Chardonnay will surprise Burgundy lovers. Outside the appellation you can also find Pinot, Viognier and Syrah, which are used in the production of red, rosé and white wines.

Beaujolais wines

There is much more to the wines of this region than the famously festive Beaujolais Nouveaux. The area also produces red wines for ageing, and even some white and rosé wines. There are three categories of Beaujolais wines:

  • AOC Beaujolais
  • AOC Beaujolais Villages (a sub-regional appellation)
  • 10 Crus du Beaujolais


Each of the 12 appellations in the region has its own distinctive characteristics.

Red wines largely dominate production in these AOCs. They are light and fruity, very drinkable, and have fresh red fruit aromas. Their robe is a beautiful garnet red, typical of Gamay wines. The red wines of Beaujolais Villages are fuller in the mouth than AOC Beaujolais wines and keep longer.

The rare rosé wines of AOC Beaujolais and Beaujolais Villages are round, fresh and enjoyable to drink.

The even rarer white wines of Beaujolais from these two appellations boast cirtrus and fresh fruit aromas and are much appreciated by those lucky enough to taste them.

Lastly, let’s not forget Beaujolais Nouveau (or Beaujolais Primeur), a young red or rosé wine that is light, easy-drinking and fruity, and intended to be drunk within the year.

The 10 crus du Beaujolais

The highest category of classification are the 10 crus du Beaujolais, which are named after the villages or areas where these fine wines are produced:

  • Brouilly
  • Côte de Brouilly
  • Chénas
  • Morgon
  • Fleurie
  • Chiroubles
  • Juliénas
  • Moulin-à-Vent
  • Saint-Amour
  • Régnié


These are exclusively red wines, whose aromas and notes vary from one appellation to another and depend on the terroir.

Wine tourism in Beaujolais: a multifaceted region

Continuing on from the Burgundy wine route, the Beaujolais wine route allows visitors to discover the region’s heritage and stunning landscapes.

divided into seven different circuits, you will discover the region’s appellations, its history, its culture and its nature. Starting in the north, from Brouilly to Saint-Amour, the road winds through the villages of the 10 crus du Beaujolais; it then continues southwards to the Beaujolais Villages and AOC Beaujolais, “the land of the golden stones”, and its breathtaking scenery. In the heart of Beaujolais, don’t miss the Château de Montmelas, with its blue-green copper roof, said to have inspired Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

région beaujolais
région beaujolais

Terra Vitis members in Beaujolais

Terra Vitis was first formed in Beaujolais more than 25 years ago. Driven by a shared desire to make wine in a different way that respects people, the environment and the terroir, Beaujolais winegrowers embarked on the adventure of sustainable viticulture, which later gave rise to the only national certification specific to the wine sector. This momentum has continued in the region, which now has some 60 Terra Vitis-certified winegrowers who will be happy to help you discover the wines of Beaujolais.

plus d'info sur terra Vitis

Further information

Official website of Beaujolais wines 

Beaujolais UNESCO Geopark 

Discover the other Terra Vitis regions

Alcohol abuse is bad for your health, please consume in moderation

Subscribe to our newsletter

Terra Vitis 2022 All rights reserved / Privacy / Website by SUPER! and La Sublimerie