Jura is arguably France's smallest wine region with around 2000 hectares of planted vines, situated some 80km directly east of Burgundy's Côte d'Or, and near the border of Switzerland. The vineyards run northeast to southwest on the western foothills of the Jura Mountains. As found in Burgundy, the soils are largely based on clay-limestone, but it is the outcrops of black, grey-blue, red and yellow marls, and the cretaceous fossil beds that form some of the highly prized vineyard sites of the Jura area.
The northern part of the Jura, around Arbois has more clay and stones - hence it is more suitable for red varietals. The regions vineyard also vary in altitudes that you find planted in Alsace, with a range of 250m and 400m.


The substantial nearby mountains influence the climate, bring cold winters, and in some years unwanted frost and hail. Grape ripeness is always a concern for winemakers of the area and harvest times are often delayed as long as possible to try to achieve the ripest fruit.
The continental climate does bring warm, long summers, ideal for Savagnin, the classic grape responsible for Jura’s famous Vin Jaune. The 6 AOP wine areas within the Jura wine region include: Arbois, Château-Chalon, Crémant du Jura, Côtes du Jura, L'Étoile and Macvin du Jura. The main grapes of the region are Chardonnay making up 45%, known locally as Melon d'Arbois, Savagnin, also known locally as Naturé, Poulsard, Pinot Noir and Trousseau among a few grape varietals that were prevalent in Jura during its winemaking history.
Jura's most famous and distinguishable wine is the Sherry-like Vin Jaune. The wine is produced by picking Savagnin as ripe as possible, in some cases a sort of late harvest wine, and after fermentation it is aged in Burgundian oak barrels for over 6 years and 3 months. The barrels are filled to the top and allowed to evaporate, reducing the volume in the barrel and creating an air pocket at the top of the barrel. During this time the wine oxidizes and grows a film of yeast that is similar, but not the same strain, as the Jerez region flor. Vin Jaune is an intensely flavoured wine that often requires decanting prior to drinking.
Other wine styles to be found in the Jura includes a Vin de Paille (straw wine) made from Chardonnay, Poulsard and Savagnin. A sparkling Crémant du Jura made from slightly unripe Chardonnay grapes, and a Vin de Liqueur known as Macvin du Jura made by adding marc to halt fermentation - enjoy.