What is it like to be a winemaker in Japan?
I was born and raised in Yamanashi Prefecture, which produces almost half of the total wine production in Japan. I think being a winemaker is a familiar job to Europeans, but it is not in Japan. Also, winemaking is considered to be more of a male job, even in modern Japanese society.
To grow grapes and make wines following in my family's tradition, and to be able to study new techniques from vintage wine production around the world, makes me feel that to be a winemaker is such a lovely job. All of the effort you put into winemaking is reflected in the wine. And in turn, wineries contribute to the region’s development.
After the growing season in the vineyards and the harvest, I often travel around Japan and overseas on promotional tours.
In Japan, we have Koshu, our signature indigenous grape variety. My father is a pioneer of quality Koshu wines, and of course I like it myself. Demand is good in big places like Tokyo, which is just 100km from Yamanashi. However it is very important for me that more people get to know Koshu wine outside the local market as well.