Credit: Photograph by Hajime Nakano, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

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The raucous parties that greet the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau started out as a marketing gimmick. The date before which each year’s vintage can’t be opened—now the third Thursday in November, though it started as Dec. 15, then Nov. 15—was fixed in 1985, to guarantee a whole weekend’s sales afterward. Vintner Georges Duboeuf was behind much of the early setup; chances are, his name will be on the bottle of wine you’re drinking as you celebrate the vin that est arrivé. While French restaurants like Bistrot du Coin packed in the hordes on Wednesday, uncorking bottles at the legally permitted stroke of midnight, Alliance Française is aiming for a fancier atmosphere. Formal wear, a silent auction, a special VIP bar so the toffs don’t have to swig brand-new beaujolais: This could be a party beyond Duboeuf’s wildest imagination. Festively Elegant begins at 7 p.m. at The Washington Club, 15 Dupont Circle NW. $40-$120. francedc.org. (202) 234-7911.