Join me with the Jura Book in London, Geneva and Amsterdam

Since the arrival of the printed books in mid-March and dealing with the logistics of sending them out to people from over 25 countries around the world, life has been somewhat exciting. The comments on the book’s quality have been very gratifying after these months of very hard work. Thank you again for all your support in spreading the word.

Jura Wine book by Wink Lorch

If you don’t have it, this is what the cover looks like. Click it to buy!

Wine educator and consultant Richard Bampfield MW wrote on Twitter:

“Thoroughly enjoyed first dip into Jura Wine from @WineTravel. Great knowledge and enthusiasm, refreshed by Wink’s tell-tale sense of fun. “

Wine writer Tom Stevenson wrote on Facebook:

“Just received my copy and I cannot put it down, even though I should be writing copy and clearing my desk for 4 weeks away. It’s not just uniquely informative, but beautifully written. A tour de force Wink!”

Writer and editor Susanna Forbes tweeted:

“Loving the look of your book @WineTravel . Can’t wait to dive in. Love the scene setting & people who matter bits … and photography is inspiring”

And as the book wings its way around the world, I’ve received fine comments from Tokyo, Netherlands, Boston, Australia, California, Ireland and many points in-between. Enough trumpet blowing, there is only left to say that just in time I sneaked in an entry to this year’s Louis Roederer Writers Awards so here’s hoping the judges like it every bit as much.

Jura wine book signing

At Le Nez dans le Vert ©Brett Jones

Signings and presentations
Following a signing baptism in Gevingey in the Jura for the well-worth-visiting organic wine fair Le Nez dans le Vert, my signing skills are now warmed up and I’m looking forward to doing more, especially in English! Several French visitors bought the book, but it was also wonderful to meet so many worldwide fans of Jura wines who had made their way especially to attend this show, and to see their pleasure at being able to delve deeper into what makes these wines what they are.

The wines that I found time to taste from the 30 organic producers at the tasting were ever-better than in previous years. The only worry is the small quantity of wine available and the fact that the vines this year are so far in advance that everyone is now scared of possible spring frost creating a catastrophic 3rd small vintage in a row. Surely this can’t happen?

The Real Wine Fair, Tobacco Dock, London – 13 April (consumers) and 14 April (trade)
The organisers of the Real Wine Fair have offered me a table at which I can sell the books, shared with the publishers of the innovative magazine Noble Rot (by chance, edition #4 will feature the Jura). I will offer the books for 10% off the usual price, so at £22.50 for payment by cash or UK cheque only. If you already have a book, please feel free to bring it along for me to sign. The London Marathon streams nearby on Sunday but don’t let this prevent you from coming to taste a huge selection of mainly organic wines from around the world. There will of course be one or two interesting Jura wines, kindly provided by Doug of Caves de Pyrène, available to taste on our table, so please come by.

I will also be conducting a seminar and tasting of five Jura wines at 3.30pm on Monday afternoon.

Tasting with Wiine.Me in Geneva – 24 April (consumers)
Together with the new Geneva-based wine club Wiine.Me I will be selling the books and offering around five wines to taste during  a convivial evening. The event will take place at Le Comptoir wine bar from 7pm. Contact me for more details.

Jura Wine trade tasting in London – 14 May (trade only)
There will be 20 producers present for the Jura trade tasting at Chandos House. I will be conducting an introductory seminar as last year at 11.30am and at 3pm with seven wines (essential to book). At 1pm we will be raising a glass of Crémant to celebrate the book and I very much hope that some key players who helped with the book will be with me. Contact Mandarin Communications to RSVP.

Tastings and presentations in the Netherlands – 1 and 2 June (mainly trade)
I shall be giving a presentation and tasting for the prestigious Wine and Food Association of the Netherlands after their annual Grand Prix Saint Hubert tasting competition, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Books will be available for sale and signing there. The following day, three key Jura wine importers join together for a small trade tasting of Jura wines in Amsterdam, where I will also be present and giving a presentation. For more information, contact Olivier Schutte of de Geluksdruif.

Jura Wine bookshop

In very good company at Athenaeum, Beaune

Buying the book and reviews
The best place to buy the book for international delivery is on my website Wine Travel Media (but be patient, it may take one or two weeks for delivery depending where you are) – sold at the cover price (plus a small extra for shipping outside Europe), if you buy here this particularly helps support my hard work. Contact me directly for trade purchases of five or more copies.

If you prefer to buy through Amazon, it is currently only on Amazon.co.uk through Marketplace but that is for delivery internationally too – please add a review there if you can. If anyone can recommend a good distributor based in the USA I would be interested in contacting them.

In the Jura wine region the book is now available through local book shops and tourist offices which will attract a wider audience, I hope. And in Beaune it is stocked at the amazing wine book shop Athenaeum, opposite the Hospice.

If you are a writer or blogger who doesn’t already have the book and wants to review it, please contact me to discuss.

And finally, whilst at Le Nez dans le Vert, my long-standing sommelier friend Christophe Menozzi, now at the Château de Germigny came by to see me and joined me for a TV interview for local French TV. You can see the TV clip (in French) here.

 

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Book offer and Tasting Dates for the Diary

Exciting news – the Jura Wine book is at the printer now and will be available at the end of March. It’s looking great and I am very happy with it. Do not miss the special offer to pre-order with a 10% discount and free delivery in Europe (£5 outside), which runs until the end of Wednesday 5th March.

Kickstarter supporters will receive their books first, then those who pre-ordered. It’s the fastest way to receive the book as it will not be available on Amazon right away. After 5th March, the price will go up to normal cover price. Pre-order the book at Wine Travel Media.

The final tally was 352 pages with 146,000 words and 253 images including original maps, explanatory diagrams and some stunning photography by Mick Rock and others. There are profiles of 100 Jura wine producers, a wealth of solid information along with historical and current stories of the people who matter in the region. There has never been such a comprehensive book on Jura wine in any language.

Jura wine book

The final contents of Jura Wine by Wink Lorch

Jura Wine tastings around the world with and without me!

BUDAPEST 2nd March: This weekend I am at the VinCE wine event at the Corinthia Hotel in lovely Budapest. I shall be presenting eight Jura wines in a workshop this Sunday at 1.30pm – if you happen to be nearby there are some tickets left and it is a great show to come to anyway. I have prepared a Powperpoint that includes many photos from the book, so hopefully Jura Life by Powerpoint rather than the usual ‘death by Powerpoint’.

LE NEZ DANS LE VERT, Gevingey, Jura 23rd and 24th March: The annual tasting of the organic growers in the Jura takes place this year in the south of the region in Gevingey in the Sud Revermont, just south of Lons-le-Saunier. This will be my first appearance WITH the book, signing and selling them, and I’m very excited about this. Hoping also to sneak off to taste some of the wonderful wines with around 30 producers, including a couple of new ones.

USA/CANADA 14th – 17th April: Eighteen Jura producers will be travelling to the USA and Canada for professional trade tastings held in Chicago (14th) New York (15th), Montreal (16th) and Toronto (17th). Details and invitations from Vincent Lafortune of Quebec. I will post more information regarding invitations when I have it.
As yet, I am not due to attend these tastings for book signings, although I would like to attend, the logistics and costs are proving difficult.

LONDON/UK 14th May: Hang out the flags! London is yet again honoured with a trade tasting of Jura wines and I will be conducting seminars and signing/selling my books too. It will be organised by Mandarin Communications and more details will emerge soon. So, please save the date and I look forward to seeing you there.

I should be coming to Hamburg at the end of April/early May to conduct a Jura tasting and if possible I would like to link this with a tasting and book signing in Copenhagen (get in touch if you can help). Amsterdam in early June is possible too. More details as they emerge.

See you soon for a taste of Jura wine and thank you for your support! In the meantime, here is an amateur video I shot when I received the colour proofs of the book…

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Sneak preview of Jura Wine – the book

Keeping all fingers and toes crossed for no disasters, my book Jura Wine will be published as promised in April 2014, in less than four months’ time – it may even be available at the end of March. Writing and preparing the book for publication has been even harder than I ever imagined, and every stage of the production process is ongoing into the New Year. As I will be printing in Europe, turnaround for that stage is fairly fast.

Preview sample spreads and buy the book in advance
I have created a page about the Jura Wine book on my personal site Wine Travel Media with links to sample pages and the contents. I do hope you like the look of the design – the actual text/photos will change a little in the real thing – but only for the better!

Jura Wine by Wink Lorch

Photos ©Mick Rock, Cephas

You can now order books in advance through my website Wine Travel Media with credit card sales via the WorldPay secure server. The books are available at a 10% discount off the retail price of £25, with free postage within the UK and Europe. Shipping anywhere else is at a discounted £5 per book. Worldpay allows you to choose to pay in US dollars or euros. For multiple orders please contact me directly. The books will be shipped during April at the latest.

Wink Lorch and Raymond Blanc

With Raymond Blanc at the London Jura Wine tasting ©Brett Jones

Raymond Blanc OBE, number one supporter of Franche-Comté
One of Britain’s best-loved chefs, originally from Besançon, capital of Franche-Comté, who has been based in England for more than three decades, Raymond Blanc OBE of the famous Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and the Brasserie Blanc group, has agreed to write the foreword, which I’m delighted about. Raymond came to the London Jura trade tasting in May and he is a big supporter of all the products from his home region. With his Chef Sommelier at Le Manoir, Alain Goubet, he intends to promote Jura wines more in his restaurant next year. Indeed they already serve Château-Chalon Domaine Chevassu-Fassenet by the glass.

A great support team
I could not have got as far as I have in preparing the book for publication, without this great support team.

  • Pat Carroll in Dublin is editing my text and she is rightly a hard taskmaster, with a great eye for detail – she loves wine and has edited many of Tom Stevenson’s books.
  • Mick Rock of Cephas Picture Library, as I’ve written about before, took some wonderful photos on our shoot back in May/June, but also already had a few in his library from earlier visits, and has taken studio shots too. Other photography is coming from Xavier Servolle in Arbois and from my partner Brett Jones. Historical photos are from Philippe Bruniaux of Arbois and from the Fruitière Vinicole d’Arbois among other sources.
  • Quentin Sadler, wine educator and blogger, is creating some splendid maps.
  • Jane Dixon-Smith of JD Smith Design in Cumbria has created the design and is putting the layouts together.
  • Most of all Brett Jones is holding me together so that I somehow keep going.

And of course, the stars of the book, all the vignerons, and people of the Jura and Franche-Comté have been answering my endless questions.

Jura wine photo team

Brett Jones and Annie Rock hold the reflector, and Mick Rock the camera. The subjects: Kenjiro and Mayumi Kagami of Domaine des Miroirs in Grusse

I have not reached the end of this journey yet, but my thanks nevertheless to all those mentioned above, especially for their help and encouragement that I know will once again be forthcoming over the next 6 weeks, with the last push to finish.

Your support please – encourage everyone to buy the book in advance
Your support for the Kickstarter campaign back in April was amazing, thank you again. I have visited the Jura at my own expense more than half a dozen times this year. Expenses, not surprisingly, have been higher than expected and books sold in advance will assist my cash flow, to help pay for the print run.

Keep your eyes out for many Jura wine tastings with me around the world next year – details as and when these are firmed up.

Meantime, may I wish you a lovely time with family and friends over the holiday period and all the very best for 2014.

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Only one word to describe the 2013 vintage

You won’t usually hear wine public relations or marketing people use the word ‘catastrophe’ either in English or French, but I am beginning to wonder whether the meaning is subtly different in contemporary French. In the past few weeks I have heard the word used by the smallest and the largest, and by both the most insular and the most worldly of Jura producers to describe the 2013 vintage. They are usually pretty honest with me, but this seems extreme.

Saint Vernier

Saint Vernier, patron saint of Jura vignerons, must have taken time off in 2013 ©Wink Lorch

‘Cata’ is short for ‘catastrophe’, and when pronounced in French either ‘CaTa’ or ‘catastroff’ with the emphasis on the ‘stroff’ it comes over with some impact. This shocking word was used by Stéphane Tissot when I spoke to him on his mobile phone on his last day of harvest this year on 14 October. Then last Monday I heard it several times from organic producers, both established and relatively new, in Paris for Le Nez dans le Vert trade tasting, even though they all wore a brave little smile. Then I spoke on the phone to the director of the large négociant Maison du Vigneron (part of Grands Chais de France) and tentatively asked about the harvest, couching it with ‘I know quantity is low and it hasn’t been easy, but how was….?’ And yet again ‘catastrophe’ was the answer. To be fair, a few bright souls gamely admitted that Jura was at least lucky to be spared the horrific hail storms that nearby Burgundy suffered. So, what went wrong?

A shortage?
This is not about quality but about quantity. As debates continue in the world of wine about a worldwide shortage of wine (is there or isn’t there?), amongst the most successful producers of the Jura wine world there will be a shortage of certain wines, no doubt. There have now been two seriously small harvests in a row, 2012 and 2013, which for some producers added together hardly equate to a normal harvest level. The 2011 vintage was generous, 2010 not very big, and so it goes on, with vintages more and more like a yo-yo in terms of quantity.

A very late spring
The winter 2012-2013 was long with unusual amounts of snow and spring was slow to start. At first producers were upbeat as they knew that this meant less risk of dangerous spring frost. However, when the cold continued into May, they began to get worried as the vines were hardly starting to grow. Towards the end of that month it was not only still wet, but seriously cold for the time of year.

And then the Savagnin ‘did a runner’!

I was perplexed when vignerons with a wry smile told me ‘les Savagnins ont filé’ as although I vaguely understood the verb ‘filer’ I did not know the expression ‘filer à l’Anglaise’ and I just could not relate it to vines. It turns out that ‘filer à l’Anglaise’ means the same as ‘to take French leave’ or to do a runner. Before actual flowering, the small clusters that had formed on many Savagnin vines simply fell off because of the cold. It also happened to a lesser extent with some Poulsard and Trousseau vines. Some Savagnin vines were left with no flower clusters at all (so no grapes) and others with just one or two remaining. Just a few protected or warmer vineyards escaped the problem completely.

Poulsard Jura

A reasonable crop of Poulsard at Domaine Lambert’s vineyard in Toulouse-le-Château ©Brett Jones

Eventually flowering began at the end of June/early July depending on variety, about four weeks later than in most recent years, but the weather was still not very kind and there was much coulure, and as in 2012 once again it was worst for Poulsard. With the low quantity, producers were resigned to keeping their fingers crossed that at least there would be good summer weather, and indeed there was warmth and sunshine for almost two months in July and August. Upbeat, the growers did not mind a little rain in early September, as that gives the vines a drink and increases the volumes a little, but they did need more ripening time, forecasting harvest would be spread along the whole of October.

Fête du Biou in Pupillin

The mid-September rainy Fête du Biou procession in Pupillin ©Brett Jones

Very hasty harvest
The ban de vendanges (the permission to start picking) was set for 23 September for grapes for Crémant, and a week later for still wines. Most good producers were prepared to sit it out for much longer, but then bad weather was forecast. The whole harvest was stop-start, dodging not just rain showers, but heavy downpours at times. Suddenly grey rot started appearing and looked ready to become rampant. The vignerons rushed to get the grapes in as quickly as possible, even the Savagnins that are usually hardy enough to be left for much longer had to be brought in rapidly. Most finished picking by 12 October or soon after, and of course they had to be selective too, but there was so little quantity to pick, at least they could do it quickly.

Vin de Paille

Only a very few boxes of grapes were drying for Vin de Paille at Domaine Bourdy ©Brett Jones

The final tally is usually given as an average yield per hectare. An average yield for the co-operatives and large producers would be 55-60 hectolitres per hectare (hl/ha), sometimes more than this for those who pick a lot of grapes for Crémant du Jura where yields may be higher. Both the  Fruitière des Vignerons d’Arbois (co-operative) and the Maison du Vigneron averaged somewhere between 30 and 35hl/ha taking into account Crémant. As for most of the organic and other producers who aim to achieve more flavour concentration through lower yields, practicing shorter pruning and bud-rubbing, they ended up with between 10 and 25hl/ha but most were well below 20hl/ha.

Quality is fine, just hardly any wine
Because there was relatively little mildew this year, the quality has ended up as fairly good overall – most producers are saying it was better for reds, but Chardonnay suffered with some rot, and there was so little Savagnin it hardly counts (5hl/ha for some vineyards).

Especially for the many small, quality-minded young producers who have set up in the past five years, this situation is really hard. Many have found keen customers both at home and on export markets eager to buy their wines, but they now can offer no follow-on for certain cuvées. It has to be said that this is exacerbated by the current Jura trend to offer a huge range of cuvées (several producers have upwards of 20 different wines even owning just 5ha of vineyards or less), but that is part of the joy of Jura.

There is absolutely nothing they can do except make the best quality wines they can manage, and hope that financially they can make it through the next few months. Nature usually regularizes things and after particularly small vintages, the vine is ready to produce a bumper crop the following year. Many vignerons thought that this would be the case after the small 2012 vintage, but in fact 2013 was worse – they simply cannot afford to have another poor vintage in terms of quantity, or indeed quality. To avoid an even bigger catastrophe we have to all think positive thoughts for 2014.

Categories: News | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

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