The 2.5km-long Chemin des Vignes walking trail and the 8km-long Circuit des Vignes mountain-bike route meander through the vines. Both trails (marked with orange signs) begin at the top of the steps next to Arbois' Château Pécauld; a booklet with details is available at the tourist office.

High above Arbois, 3km southeast, is tiny Pupillin, a cute yellow-brick village famous for its wine production. Some 10 different caves (wine cellars) are open to visitors.

Liquid Gold

Legend has it that vin jaune (literally, 'yellow wine') was invented when a winemaker came across a forgotten barrel, six years and three months after he’d filled it, and discovered that its contents had been miraculously transformed into gold-coloured wine.

A long, undisrupted fermentation process gives Jura’s signature wine its unique characteristics. Savagnin grapes are harvested late and their sugar-saturated juice left to ferment for a minimum of six years and three months in oak barrels. A thin layer of yeast forms over the wine, preventing too much oxidisation; there are no top-ups to compensate for wine that evaporates (known as la part des anges, ‘the angels’ share’). In the end, 100L of grape juice ferments down to just 62L of vin jaune (lucky angels!) which is then bottled in a special 0.62L bottle called a clavelin.

Vin jaune is renowned for ageing extremely well, with prime vintages keeping for more than a century. A 1774 vintage was bought for a cool 46,000 Swiss francs when auctioned off by Christie's in 2012…many locals insist that it should have fetched a higher price.