If you are in France, or perhaps on your way there this week, you might like to take a detour to the Jura wine region this weekend. A new festival, named Jura Grains de Folie, takes place from Friday 8th – Sunday 10th June with numerous activities around the theme of wine, aimed at offering events for all the family.
This is a rare chance to find many Jura wine cellar doors wide open for visitors without appointment, usually with added attractions like a jazz band, an art exhibition or meals available. Local restaurants join in the fun, offering special menus, often with a free glass of Jura wine. Horse and carriage rides, bouncy castles, archery and more are available to keep the family entertained. A pass costing €12 for 1 day, €20 for 2 days or €25 for all three days gives free entry to most of the events.
Friday’s focus is in the south of the region, near Lons-le-Saunier, including the pretty wine village of l’Etoile, home to the top producers of Château de Montbourgeau and Philippe Vandelle. At the village of Orbagna in the south you will find a group of producers including the excellent organic growers Champs Divin and Domaine Buronfosse offering tastings and a country lunch.
On Saturday it’s the turn of the middle section of the region including events at Arlay and at the beautiful hilltop village of Château-Chalon. In Arlay, it’s worth visiting Caves Jean Bourdy, where their fascinating museum will be open to all, as well as their conservatory of old vines and in Château-Chalon a whole raft of craft activities will be happening alongside wine tasting of course. In the town of Poligny, heartland of Comté cheese, there will be cooking and cheese-making demonstrations.
Sunday, Arbois and its surrounding villages in the north of the region get their turn. Activities include music at Domaine de la Pinte, a guided tour around the cellars of Arbois by Cave de la Reine Jeanne, a geological tour of Montigny-les-Arsures, a picnic at Domaine Dugois, and crêpes available in the streets of Pupillin where six wine cellars are open for tasting including the excellent Domaine de la Renardière and Domaine de la Borde.
It seems there is crossover on most days too, with the whole region offering activities all weekend. The programme is in French only, but you can download it here. I’m not able to go, so if you get a chance to attend, please do report back to me in the comments or directly. It sounds like a whole lot of fun.
For many more ideas of which producers to visit, and where to stay, eat and shop in the Jura, do take a look at Wine Travel Guides.