When you first think of Japanese wine, immediately you think of sake, but this is in fact made from rice not grapes!
But Japan also grows regional and international grape varieties and has a progressive winemaking industry. The main areas for wine production are Yamanashi, Nagano and Hokkaido.
Like China, Japan has a problem with extreme climatic conditions- typhoons and monsoons galore! This has a huge, detrimental effect on winemaking and it’s development within the country.
But, with the powerful presence of Mount Fuji overlooking, the Japanese have persevered. Along with their national grape variety Koshu, they are also growing some International grape varieties today (mainly Bordeaux ones). These vines were imported directly from France to produce grapes on site.
Japan also imports International variety grape must to blend with their own grapes, to make wines in Japan themselves. This has to be specified on the label though by law.
There is much more to come from Japan. Keep your eyes and ears open for developments as their enthusiasm will hopefully prevail.
- Delicate, crisp, simple whites
- Medium-bodied, blackcurrant reds
- Chardonnay (whites)
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Merlot (reds)
- Nagano’s Bordeaux blends and single varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot