In the late 1930s an early pioneer of the American viticulture, Paul Masson, brought with him several Burgundian grapes for his winery in California. One of those grapes he believed to be the Gamay variety from the Beaujolais region in France, which in the 1940s University of California at Davis (UCD) researchers christened "Gamay Beaujolais". In the late 1960s, UCD scientists decided that Gamay Beaujolais was a clonal selection of Pinot noir, and that California's version of the true Gamay was in fact the Napa Gamay. In fact the Napa Gamay isn't the true Gamay either, it was subsequently found to be the Valdiguié grape from Languedoc-Roussillon.
Use on labels
The US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has been discouraging the use of the term 'Gamay Beaujolais'. They ruled that from 1997 it could only be used as a secondary designation on wines made from more than 75% Pinot noir or Valdiguié, and from April 2007 the term 'Gamay Beaujolais' has been banned from labels in the US.
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) (1997) ATF-388, Gamay Beaujolais Wine Designation (92F–042P) as amended by ATF-388a.