Winemakers From Japanese Region Turn To Fruity Wines To Foster Fame


When in doubt, fruit it out.
A recent story by Malay Mail Online revealed that Japanese winemakers from Yamanashi Prefecture are turning to koshu, a fruity wine with a “delicate bouquet” to boost their sales and build the reputation of the region.
“Koshu has a charm that overseas wines don't have,” winemaker Ayana Misawa told Malay Mail. “Its special clarity and purity, and relatively low alcohol content, are also part of the charm.”
Recent developments in international acceptance of the sweet wine have helped the region's cause.
“In recent years, Japan varietals 'koshu' and 'Muscat Bailey A' were certified by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine, making its exported wine recognizable in Europe,” the article said.
The wine's interesting qualities make it a perfect pairing for Japanese cuisine, Malay Mail said.
“White wine from koshu grapes has gained a cult following for its delicate bouquet and affinity with sushi and sashimi,” the article said. “Vintners are hoping to see Yamanashi become a 'terroir' the way Burgundy and Bordeaux are for France.
Part of the difficulty of the Japanese winemaker's desire for achieving international record, the article said, is that Japan's best alcoholic exports aren't wine.
“Japan exported only about 208,000 liters of wine in 2014, compared with about 21.1 million liters of sake and 3.8 million liters of whisky,” Malaysia Mail said.
Inside the country's border, wine has yet to become a phenomenon, the article said. Compared with other wine-drinking countries, Japan's consumption is but a hiccup.
“Although wine consumption is growing, Japan has a long way to go,” the article said. “The average French drinker gets through 46.4 liters of wine each year, more than 20 times the amount their counterparts in Japan imbibe on average.”
Japan's tepid taste for wine isn't the only hurdle the country's wine producers face, the story said.
“Adding to vintner woes is a tendency among farmers to prefer growing table grapes, more profitable than the wine variety,” the article noted.
In fact, only about 2 percent of the country's wines are made exclusively from Japanese grapes. 
The country's government is making efforts to designate specific wine growing regions  in order to create a sense of terroir, the article said, but federal regulation “could destroy a new and still immature industry, which has just about 200 wineries.”
Winemakers are looking to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo to bolster the country's wine sales. 

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