Wine shows no sign of turning Japanese in the UK

18 April, 2008

Q There is a lot of chatter about wine from India and China. What about Japan?

A Japan does have a wine industry - most of it based around Mount Fuji to the west of Tokyo in the Kofu basin. There are fewer than 200 wineries in Japan, which face an awkward combination of typhoon climate, ­soggy soil and a short supply of available land.

Yet some stalwarts persist, producing wines from American grapes such as Delaware and hybrids such as Kyoho. Only about 20% of vines are vinifera ­varieties: Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay are all available.

Bernard Magrez, the Bordeaux wine tycoon best known for his ownership of Château Pape-Clément and his fascination with overseas wine investments, is due to release the first wine from his joint venture with a Japanese winery, though it is not likely to be on sale in the UK.

Magrez-Aruga Koshu Isehara 2007 is made from the indigenous white Koshu grape and produced in partnership with Katsunuma Winery president Yuji Aruga.

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