In New York, Stockholm, Toronto and beyond sommeliers, wine merchants, geeks and writers have been talking for a few years about a secret, insider’s wine region. A region with unusual grapes, winemaking methods that defy logic and a band of characters who create the magic of turning these grapes into wine on a very special terroir.
One of these wines, Vin Jaune, has been revered by those in the know for centuries, and indeed it can last for centuries - I know people who tasted a 1774 wine from Arbois that brought tears to their eyes it was so good. Vin Jaune is expensive, no surprise, but from that same terroir emerge great value Crémant sparkling wines, light but compelling reds, a whole range of interesting white wines and two other intriguing specialities, Vin de Paille and Macvin.
This is a region of great beauty and delicious cheese too. Somewhere any Francophile wants to visit.
If you’re in the know, you will have recognized that this is the Jura wine region in eastern France. If you’re not yet in the know, but you are lucky enough to live in a city with some excellent wine shops, then get down there and find a bottle to taste. You’ll soon get the bug to find out more.
See Updates #3 and #4 in particular for Stretch Goals and further explanations of how the extra funds received will be used.
Why write a book?
Try searching the internet for information on Jura wines in English and most likely you will come across one of my blog posts or articles, or perhaps my on-line travel guides. You may find a few blog posts and articles from colleagues, mainly based in the USA…
What you won’t find is a link to a book in English, for there’s never been one. Even in French the last comprehensive book was written over 15 years ago. In most wine books Jura is allocated only a couple of pages, and often linked with Savoie, another lovely small wine region in eastern France, with which it is grouped for convenience, although these two regions have little in common.
You won't even find many websites for the Jura producers, of those that exist very few are translated into English, and most give little information about how the wines are made and what makes the region tick.
There's so much to share about the grapes, wine styles and wine producers of the Jura. The region has a strong organic group of growers and lately has attracted youngsters with new ideas. Last year a legendary biodynamic Burgundy estate Domaine d’Angerville from Volnay invested in vineyards and is creating a new Jura estate. As for the traditional names like Henri Maire, Domaine Dugois or Domaine Macle, there is plenty of excitement and stories to tell about them, with new owners, new generations and a real drive to make better wines.
It’s time for a comprehensive book on the Jura wine region and I’m writing one right now, to be called Jura Wine (subtitle: with local food and travel tips).
Here I am asking for you to join me in making this happen by supporting me in this project.
Yes, I could write an e-book, or try another internet subscription-model idea (I am the founder of Wine Travel Guides), but I think the Jura wine region and its wonderful producers deserve a real printed book in English. And to produce a good book requires finance, not only for printing, but for editing, laying out the text and design.
A good wine book deserves excellent professional photographs, diagrams and maps too, and these cost money too.
Who is the book for?
- Confirmed drinkers of Jura wines, ready to learn more.
- Wine people in the profession including sommeliers, retailers and wine buyers (all over the English speaking world), all who need the detail of an insider's guide.
- Wine lovers and geeks interested in obscure areas and interesting grapes.
- Lovers of ‘hidden’ France – who may want to explore the Jura region.
- Wine travellers interested in finding out more before they visit the region.
- It's for you.
What will be in the book and what will it look like?
The book will be a modern-style, smart paperback with around 320 pages, 100,000 words, 100-200 photographs and 10-15 maps and diagrams. Yes, this is primarily a book on the wines of the Jura, but the delicious regional cheeses, sausages and other local foods from Jura and Franche-Comté will be explored too, and there will be a local travel section with tips on where to stay, eat, shop and visit.
The book will include the stories of the people who have influenced the wine region, plus profiles of around 100 wine producers. As well as history and geography to understand the basis of why the wines are as they are, there will of course be chapters examining the terroir, the grapes, the appellations, how Jura's unusual wine styles are made, and how they taste. These chapters will be written in a way that those with little wine knowledge will appreciate, but professionals will be sure to learn too.
In short, this book will be the ultimate insider's guide to the Jura wine region.
Why should I write it?
My first one day wine visit to the Jura was in 1999 when I was asked to contribute a 2-page chapter (with Savoie) for a wine encyclopedia. I could find no information at all about the region in English to do my own homework, it was all in French. Then in 2002 Tom Stevenson asked me to be the contributor on Jura and Savoie for his acclaimed annual guide book Wine Report, which lasted through six editions 2004-2009. In researching for this guide I visited the region every year for at least ten days, and I have continued my regular visits since.
I have written on the region for wine magazines including World of Fine Wine, Sommelier Journal, Decanter, Harpers, and Meininger’s Wine Business, and contributed to books including 1001 Wines you must try before you die and Opus Vinum (The Wine Opus). I have also updated the Jura entries in Jancis Robinson’s Oxford Companion to Wine, the annual Oz Clarke’s Pocket Book and The World Atlas of Wine.
In August 2011 Jancis Robinson wrote “Just wanted to thank you, Wink, for all the invaluable help you have given with our forthcoming massive book about grape varieties [Wine Grapes, pub. October 2012]. We are very lucky to have you as an informant – and I hope Jura and Savoie truly appreciate all you do for them too!”
I've written numerous blog posts on Jura, as well as the Wine Travel Guides to Jura, and I started my dedicated Jura blog in April 2012.
In addition to writing I have led consumer tours to the region and helped countless professionals and consumers plan their visits to the Jura.
In short, I believe that in the past ten years I have been the native English-speaking person who has visited the Jura wine region most often, tasted more wines, and met with more producers than any other, and of course I have written more about it too.
I feel I now owe it to the producers of this unique region to share their stories more widely.
And, I want to share all this information with you in the classic format of a printed book - the definitive book on Jura wines, written in English. With exports of Jura wines increasing, the time is right to write and publish this book now!
Will you join me to be part of this exciting project?
What is the money for?
The money I'm asking for will go towards producing the book and the first print run. Specifically it will pay for the following:
- Professional copy editing my text.
- Professional photographs - landscapes, people and food, many shot especially for the book.
- Creating professional and useful maps of the wine areas.
- Professional layout and design.
- A contribution towards the first print run and fulfilling the rewards.
The Rewards I'm offering include the book itself for those who give at least £25 - that's about US$40 or €30 at current exchange rates.
There are other tasty rewards for those who want to travel to this gorgeous part of France, including a special tour guided by me. Or, you might like me to present a tasting of the wines in your house or a bigger venue - do take a look.
Of course, all the rewards will include your name in the acknowledgements of the book.
Pledge now and you will become the insiders' Jura wine supporter.
I have a future project up my sleeve too, which is an enhanced digital version, but right now I've enough on my plate with the book. Any spare funds will go in this direction, trust me.
Why no publisher and what about sponsorship?
It would have been sensible for me to approach several specialist wine book publishers to try and find one to publish this book. But, from conversations I've had, I realize that if I found anyone to do it, they would want to link Jura with Savoie and Bugey. Neither the producers in these regions nor I think it's right to link up these regions, they are simply too different. That is really the most important reason I'm going my own way, with your help.
The Jura wine region promotional organisation does not have the funds to sponsor my book and even if it did, this would constrain me to write the same amount on each and every wine producer. I certainly don't want to be too closely associated with any of the larger wine producers even if they did consider sponsoring it. As for the regional tourist office, I haven't approached them, because I believe they would require much more of a travel guide than I want or am qualified to write.
I need to do this alone, but I also would love you to be part of this project. Will you support this book?
If the target amount is not achieved, I receive nothing at all and there will be no book.
NOTE TO DONORS FROM OUT OF THE UK: As a UK citizen I have to use Kickstarter UK, hence why the target amount, your pledge and the rewards are all in UK pounds. Paying with your credit card the pound sterling amount will be converted at the prevailing rate and Kickstarter will handle this. Thanks for your pledge.
Remember Kickstarter's policy: If the project you’re backing is successfully funded, your card will be charged when the project reaches its funding deadline. If the project does not reach its funding goal, your card is never charged.
Jura Wine: the book - out next year, with your help!
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge for me is actually completing the writing of this book - taking all the research I've done, the visits to producers and the wines I've tasted together with articles and blog posts on Jura wine I've already written - and putting it all together in a book. Your support on this project will really motivate me to get it finished and do a fantastic job. Having decided to self-publish, I don't have a publisher's contract pushing me, but this Kickstarter project is to me a contract with all those who have kindly pledged funds.
The greatest risk is that a) I don't ever manage to complete the book and feel it's all too much for me, or worse that b) I or someone close to me falls ill or gets run over by a bus, but I assure you neither of these scenarios are likely.
There's also the risk that someone in my support group helping to make sure this book happens pulls out for whatever reason. I'm sure that somehow I will replace them - I have worked in the wine book publishing world in the UK and have a big network of contacts.
And finally there's the risk that I will complete the writing late and that the whole schedule will be late.
Rest assured whatever happens, I am a good communicator. And I will keep in touch with all of you who have kindly supported this project with pledges letting you know of any problems that occur along the way. If indeed they do. I look forward to sharing with you the progress instead.
Now, onward and upwards!
And my sincere thanks to you for reading, for sharing this to your own networks, and for your pledges of support.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)