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As Caesar's army crossed the Alps and into Gaul in the 1st century B.C., they built temples, aqueducts, amphitheatres and roads. Along those roads, Rome's army planted the vine. There is still evidence today in Brouilly and Morgon of those Roman vineyards. After Rome left, the area was invaded by the Barbarians and then the Arabs who also tended the vines and enjoyed the fruits thereof.

Founded in the 10th century by the powerful nobility that created the principality, the town of Beaujeu in the western hills of Beaujolais, gives the region its name. It was ruled by the Dukes of Beaujeu until it was ceded to the Bourbonnais in 1400.

The region really began to develop an identity distinct from its northern neighbor Burgundy, after Philippe the Bold made his famous decree in July 1395, outlawing the Gamay grape and forbidding its cultivation in the great duchy of Burgundy proper. So Burgundy went with Pinot Noir and Beaujolais went with Gamay. Although the edict was not at all popular with the growers of his day, it proved to be a good thing for each of the two regions. Here in Beaujolais, the Gamay grape is in its element.

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