• Japan,  Nagano,  Winery

    St. Cousair Winery: Mixing tradition with experimentation

    Earlier this month, I visited St Cousair’s winery in Iizuna, Nagano. St Cousair is a family-owned gourmet food and beverage company headquartered in Nagano. From a single jar of apple jam the company now produces fruit syrups and butters, ciders and, of course, wine. It has over 100 stores across Japan and recently expanded into Oregon in the United States.

  • Tourism,  Winery

    Urban Vineyard: Rooftop Reds

    Continuing on my wine tourism streak (see these other posts: Japan, Australia), I recently visited Rooftop Reds, an urban vineyard in Brooklyn, New York. It was a cloudless, sunny Tuesday afternoon. I couldn't have asked for anything more.

  • Tourism,  Winery

    Wine Camp in Australia

    This February, I visited the Granite Belt wine region. The Granite Belt is a domestically premier, but internationally up-and-coming winemaking region in Queensland, Australia. It gets its name from its soil which is predominantly granite rocks and different from other areas in the Queensland. I visited as part of a Japanese contingent of the Granite Belt Wine School. The school is a new program which aims to introduce the world to the Granite Belt. See this later post for further details. The trip was a…

  • Japan,  Tourism

    Japan Wine Tourism Wish List

    hese days when I travel I go to places with wine--or I seek out wine in the places I go. I typically go for the standard tasting and tour, but some wine regions and wineries have embraced wine tourism and offer luxury accommodations, high-end dining and even spa treatments.

  • Japan

    Wine of North Eastern Japan

    North Eastern Japan has been making wine for longer than you would expect and it is pretty interesting stuff. I recently had the chance to attend a tasting of wines from North Eastern Japan. North Eastern Japan is the top part of Honshu, the main island in Japan. It covers six prefectures: Aomori, Iwate, Akita, Miyazaki, Yamagata and Fukushima. All six prefectures produce wine. What I found most surprising is that North Eastern Japan has produced wine for quite some time… Yamagata in particular has…

  • Japan,  Nagano

    Nagano Wine in a Word? Diverse

    Last week, I attended the second class of a course on Japanese wine sponsored by the Japanese Wine Association. The topic was Nagano wine. The take away? Nagano’s climate and topography allow the prefecture to produce a diverse range of wine based on grape and style. This along with improved vineyard and winemaking know-how and increased interest in Japanese wine domestically and internationally makes Nagano a wine region to watch out for. Nagano has low annual rainfall The greatest critique of Japan as a wine…

  • Japan,  Yamanashi

    Koshu: A Flight of Styles

    I recently tasted three 100% koshu varietal wines from Yamanashi prefecture each made in a different style. Here are my notes: Sur Lie Koshu “Sur lie” is a French term meaning “on the lees.” It refers to the predominantly white winemaking technique of allowing the wine to remain in contact with lees, or dead yeast cells, for a period of time after fermentation finishes. The purpose is to increase a wine’s flavour and texture. This technique is increasingly used in making koshu wine. Koshu can…

  • Ferocious Focus,  Grape Cultivation,  Japan,  Nagano,  Winery

    Trellis: Japan Vineyards Get Smart with Smart-Dyson

    Following up on Ferocious Focus: Trellis Systems, I will introduce the trellis system that Kusunoki Winery, a winery located in Suzaka, Nagano in Japan uses. But before that, let’s discuss some of the environmental factors that Kusunoki Winery considered when choosing its trellis system. The main factors are fertile soil and wet weather, which together cause rapid vine growth, or high vigor. Fertile Soil According to the Kusunoki Winery website, the winery is located on an alluvial fan called the Hitakihara. An alluvial fan is…

  • Ferocious Focus,  Grape Cultivation

    Ferocious Focus: Trellis Systems

    “Trellis systems” is a large topic to tackle in a single post. The plan is to provide a shorter explanation here to set up for a longer post next week on a specific trellis system that I have often seen used in Nagano, Japan. And, no, it is not the pergola-like budodana system. Although that is an interesting system in itself and should get a post at some point. What is a Trellis System? So, as mentioned, “trellis systems” is a large topic. To start,…