• Rue du Vin Winery Nagano
    Japan,  Nagano,  Tourism

    Go North-West for Nagano, Wine Country

    So, you, wine lover, have landed in Japan. Looking at a map, you see that you have many options to quench your thirst. You can go south-east to Yamanashi, which makes wine from Koshu, that new grape you have been hearing more and more about. You can go north to Hokkaido, which makes elegant Pinot Noir. Or--and this is the recommended route--you can go north-west to Nagano.

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Japan,  Nagano,  Tourism,  Winery

    Tourism: Harvest at Rue du Vin

    I recently participated in my first harvest. It was at the Rue de Vin winery in Tomi, Nagano on one of those perfect days that people imagine wine harvests are like–sun, crisp air and fall colors. While I had always viewed participating in a harvest as work, I realized that it is a great form of tourism. There were about fifteen of us, all volunteers, from Tokyo, Nagano and other nearby prefectures. There were couples, friend groups and a family with two small children. All,…

  • Japan,  Nagano

    Critics Love Japanese Wine, But What About the Domestic Market?

    Some wines can, with a little exposure and patience, change, surprise and delight. Japanese wine today is certainly surprising and delighting western, notably United Kingdom, critics and other wine industry professionals. For example, Japanese wine made from Koshu grapes has received international recognition. Several of these wines, such as those from Grace Winery in Yamanashi prefecture, have won awards at global competitions. There are also an increasing number of masters of wine and critics visiting Japanese wine regions and writing back home about their finds.…

  • Nagano,  Winery

    Kusunoki Winery, the future Virginia?

    Kusunoki Winery is located in Suzaka city in the northern part of Nagano prefecture. Kusunoki Winery’s wines are part of the Nagano Appellation Control System and its 2009 Chardonnay and 2011 Merlot have received awards from that organization. Further, its 2014 Barrel Aged Chardonnay was selected for the G7 Ministers of Transportation reception event in 2016. When I visited in September 2017, I enjoyed and bought a bottle of the Merlot Eternal Romantique 2014. This wine is named after the first Japanese woman photo journalist,…

  • Nagano,  Winery

    Sun Sun Winery

    I first had Sun Sun Winery’s Chardonnay Sur Lie 2015 blind at a friend’s party. I didn’t think it was from Burgundy but I did think it was from Europe. I was surprised to learn it was from Nagano, Japan. I first visited Sun Sun Winery (link to website) in June 2018. Sun Sun Winery is located near the town of Shiojiri in the Kikyogahara valley in central Nagano prefecture. Interestingly, it was established and is owned by a company that operates retirement homes. This…