Salins les Bains to Poligny
By Wink Lorch
This Guide was last updated on 25 June 2014
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The most important wine festival in the Jura, La Percée du Vin Jaune attracts up to 50,000 people and takes place over the first weekend of February. It celebrates the release of the 'new' vintage of Vin Jaune (6 years and 3 months after the harvest). The main processions and ceremonies are a sight to behold and take place on Sunday morning. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons around 60 wine producers have indoor stands set up with wines to taste, though be warned, they can be very busy. Food stands and restaurants are available. There is also an auction of old vintages of Jura wines on the Saturday afternoon. If the weather is dry, the atmosphere is amazing (even though it may be very cold!). The festival is in a different town or village each year. Buses are laid on from car parks outside the village/town. The next event will take place in Montigny-les-Arsures, just north of Arbois on Saturday 31 January and Sunday 1 February 2015.
Useful information: Details from Vins du Jura (see ‘Useful Information’). Entry charge usually about €13.
On the first Sunday of September, if you come early enough in the day to Arbois, you will see a collection of well-known vignerons dressed uncharacteristically in suits and ties, some of them carrying tasteful bouquets of flowers. The main procession of the Fête du Biou celebrates the biblical story of the return of the Israelites from Canaan (the land of plenty) carrying the Eschol, a huge bunch of grapes. This is recreated by four vignerons carrying on poles a giant 'bunch' of grapes formed from linking together many bunches of red and white grapes, decorated with flowers. The procession goes from the Maison de Vercel (opposite the Maison du Pasteur) to the Eglise Saint Just. A church service follows, and then there are usually further processions celebrating the liberation after World War II. The result is a gloriously traditional and friendly event attended by what seems like all the citizens of Arbois. At midday a free wine aperitif is offered by the vignerons to all in the street.
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