Decoding the Mystique of Jura Wines: What are the factors driving its price tag and limited quantity?

Jura in a nutshell

Jura Region Map

Jura is a small wine region located between Burgundy and Switzerland. It has only 2,100 hectares of planted land along the narrow strip of 80 kilometres from north to south. Named after the Jurassic period, the region’s geological developments between 145 million and 200 million years resulted in today’s limestone mountains. Today, the region is home to 40 different grape varieties, including Chardonnay, Savagnin, Poulsard, Trousseau and Pinot Noir.

So now we know a little about the region, the questions are…

Why are Jura wines not easy to get hold of?

What are the reasons that drive the price tag and cult behind this wine region?

The smallest wine region in France

Jura’s wines are produced under four core appellations, including Arbois, Château Chalon, L’Etoile and Côtes du Jura. Unfortunately, with a series of unfortunate events, Jura’s downfall began in the 1850s with the arrival of downy mildew, followed by phylloxera. The railroad development also brought wines from Southern France and sidelined the demand for Jura’s wine in the north. Today, Jura accounts for only 0.2-0.5% of French wine production, one-tenth of what it was 170 years ago.

Limited production means limited supply!

Limited export volume

As of 2021, only 12% of Jura wines were exported outside France. Although this number has increased significantly over the past 15 years (from 2% up to 12%), it still only represents a small fraction of global exports. Furthermore, half of the Jura wines exported are Cremant du Jura, a type of sparkling wine. Even when looking at the total export, the number of bottles brought into each market is a tiny fraction. Non-sparkling wine is an even smaller percentage of the 12% total.
Wine export

Jura’s wines are some of France’s most distinctive wines. 

Chardonnay may be the region’s most planted grape variety, but Jura can boast its own highly individual grape varieties. 

Poulsard makes vivacious, rose-scented reds. 

Trousseau is rather deep in colour, with distinctive pepper and violet scents. 

Savagnin makes extremely tense, long-lived, full-body dry whites, as well as oxidised white wine, called Vin Jaune (yellow wines). Vin Jaune is a dry style of white wine crafted from Savagnin with a minimum ageing period of 6+ years under a thin layer of yeast (called sous voile in French) before bottling. This process imparts distinguishable flavour characteristics, such as bruised apples, roasted nuts, and umami, into the wine. 

The HYPE, the demand

Jura is often considered a spiritual home for organic viticulture and low-intervention winemaking. The region owes much of its reputation to iconic producers like Pierre Overnoy and Jean-François Ganevat, who have been the driving forces behind its success.

In 2023, an auction report revealed that the leading name in the appellation, Jean Macle Château-Chalon, sold its 1983 vintage Vin Jaune for €451. Another big name in Jura, Ganevat, is known for his biodynamic principles and natural vinification approach. A bottle of the domaine’s Côtes du Jura Les Vignes de mon Père 2005 was sold for €689.

All these auction records are causing ripple effects on the wine price from the region, driving the price tag up worldwide!

Words from Domaine Jean-Luc Mouillard

Jura wines are rarely found in your local supermarket or corner store. It is often placed in the hands of a sommelier in a restaurant or available in a wine shop. If you get a bottle in hand, enjoy it!

We had a chance to have a quick dialogue with Annie from Domaine Jean-Luc Mouillard, on how to pair with Jura wines and what to expect from the 2023 harvest.

How do people in Jura pair their food with the wine
We drink anything for aperitif, from Cremant du Jura to Chardonnay, Red or even Vin Jaune! We like to pair our local delicacies, like Comté, Mont d’Or and Morbier, with our white wine or Vin Jaune. For cured meats or Morteau sausages, we prefer to go with our red wine such as Poulard or Trousseau. 

How about Vin Jaune? When do you enjoy it?
We drink as aperitif, with fish, white meat, dishes cooked in cream and mushroom sauce, Comte, blue cheese, event with desserts and chocolate!
Vin Jaune

What can we expect from the 2023 harvest?
The 2023 harvest was a good year in terms of quantity and quality. The vines did not suffer from drought like in 2022. This year, we had grapes full of good quality juice, which indicates a great vintage. We are expecting rich and balanced quality in white wines. For the reds, we expect clearer and lighter but flattering wines!

This Blog post is written by Sharon Wong
Consumer Sales and Marketing Manager of Wanderlust Wine 

Sharon is the the driving force behind our website, wine club, marketing activities, and Wanderlust Wine events. 

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