TOKYO – Men and women in straw hats, swimming shorts and bikini tops, and their children in floaters and onesies, soaked themselves on Thursday in a purple-pink so-called “wine bath” that matched the color of the vintage Beaujolais Nouveau they raised a glass to on the day of its seasonal release in Japan.
The wine-lovers’ glasses were kept full by the ever-watchful servers at the Hakone Kowakien Yunessun hot spring resort in Hakone, west of Tokyo, where the event was being held.
Some of the guests rubbed the fruity and light red wine, made from gamay grapes in the Beaujolais region in France, all over their bodies, believing it to be good for the skin, an epa journalist reported.
The relatively inexpensive wine that is bottled soon after harvest and doesn’t need to age is sold once a year on the third Thursday of November, also known as the “Beaujolais Nouveau Day” and released in local markets at 12:01 a.m. local time.
Japan is a major market for the wine, along with Germany and the United States, although its demand there has been steadily dropping of late.
Japan Airlines also got in on the celebration, with plans to serve a limited edition of the wine, exclusive to Japan, developed by Pierre Ferraud, a highly acclaimed wine producer, in collaboration with master chef Thierry Marx of France, on select international routes and also at JAL’s major airport lounges in Japan on Thursday.