• 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…

  • 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,…

  • Ferocious Focus,  France,  Winery

    Cahors: Struggle and Innovation

    The last two posts of ferocious wines focused on rootstocks (see here and here). In this post, I want to briefly introduce Cahors, France, a wine region nearly devastated by phylloxera. Cahors is a red wine made from grapes grown in or around the town of Cahors, France. Cahors, the region, received appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) status in 1971. Under the AOC, the dominant grape variety is Malbec, which must make up a minimum of 70% of the wine. The AOC wine may be supplemented…

  • 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…