The Yellow Wine Breakthrough is a major wine event held every first weekend of February, alternating between a producer village of Yellow Wine and Jura wine. This festive event celebrates the tapping of the first barrels of Yellow Wine after six years and three months of oxidative aging in barrels, as well as the tasting of this emblematic wine before bottling. Visitors have the opportunity to taste a wide selection of Jura wines and Yellow Wine in open cellars specially set up for the occasion, where local producers are present.
The Yellow Wine Breakthrough was established in 1997 by Bernard Badoz, a winemaker from Poligny. The first edition held in this city was unexpectedly successful with 15,000 visitors. The term "breakthrough" was chosen in a major regional competition. Over time, this event has become one of France's main wine festivities, attracting an average of nearly 45,000 visitors each year. The 2011 edition of the Breakthrough set a record attendance with over 60,000 visitors over the weekend, establishing the absolute record since its inception. Another notable record was set at an auction, where a bottle from 1774 was sold for nearly €57,000.
The 26th edition of the Yellow Wine Breakthrough concluded successfully on Sunday, February 4. Here are the three key points to remember:
• Record attendance: Over 32,000 visitors flocked to the event over the three days. The Arboisian Breakthrough experienced maximum attendance, with 500 entries on Friday during the Winemaker Encounters evening, and approximately 20,000 visitors on Saturday, followed by 12,000 on Sunday, according to Olivier Badoureaux, director of the Interprofessional Committee of Jura Wines (CIVJ).
• Impact on the city: Mayor Valérie Depierre also expressed satisfaction with the event's impact on the city: "Based on the feedback I received, merchants did well. Culturally, the impact is also significant. We offered free admission to our museums and recorded 1,200 entries at the Wine Museum and 3,000 entries at the Pasteur House."
• Overall satisfaction: Overall, this year's edition was a success both in terms of attendance and the economic and cultural impact on the city of Arbois.
The auction of the Breakthrough is a highly anticipated event by Jura wine enthusiasts, especially Yellow Wine enthusiasts, known for its ability to age well. This year, the event offered over 200 lots, including an impressive selection of old vintages, some dating back to very distant years: 1774, 1886, and 1929 being the oldest, followed closely by vintages such as 1942 and 1945...
The centerpiece of this sale was a 1774 vintage Yellow Wine, harvested under the reign of Louis XVI by winemaker Anatoile Vercel. This bottle had rested in the family cellar for eight generations before resurfacing for the 2024 Yellow Wine Breakthrough. However, despite an estimated value between €28,000 and €30,000, it unfortunately did not find a buyer. According to François Duboz, the starting price of €28,000 was deemed excessive. Among the other notable lots offered at the sale, there was a 1886 Château-Chalon from Marchandon de Lafaye, sold for €3,600 excluding fees, as well as two magnums of 2014 Savagnin from Clos des Grives. Also featured were a 1947 Arbois Yellow Wine from Henri Maire, a 1947 Yellow Wine from Domaine Bourdy, and a 1958 vintage from the same producer.
In fifteen days, the board of directors of the Ambassadors Association will hold its meeting. Olivier Badoureaux emphasizes: "The central question will focus on the future of the Breakthrough." The event is at a decisive turning point: costs are increasing, especially in terms of security standards, and the organization is becoming increasingly burdensome for the volunteers who manage it.