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Wine & Japan

If when we talk about Japan we mainly think of Japanese sake called " nihonshu ", or even Japanese whiskey which has an excellent reputation today. hui; you wouldn't imagine that the japanese also make wine, yes, real wine made from grapes.

The French wine market in Japan

People who know me in a rather intimate way know that at some point in my life I wanted to export the French soil to Japan. I was of course very interested in the French wine market in Japan.

In this period when I was educating myself through market research and articles on the right and left, I learned that French wine was not the most purchased wine in Japan. "What do you mean our wine is not the most consumed ?! These Japanese have no taste! ". No need to come to that. The reason is not specifically related to the taste or the quality of the wine. The reason is more related to a story of tariff and import. Indeed, the most consumed wine in Japan remains Chilean wine . Already because it's not that bad, and what's more, it's cheaper. Just as the French would like to taste cheaper Japanese sake first, so the Japanese do the same with wine. Hence this slight delay. But don't worry, we're not far behind in the rankings!

Manga and wine in Japan

Although I prefer it when we speak Japanese sake , in manga it is often more wine that is put forward. It must be said that the success of wine in Japan is therefore linked to manga. It’s quite simple as a marketing idea, the more you are shown something the more sensitive and likely you will want to own it. And in manga, wine is often synonymous with nobility, prestige and quite delicate alcohol. Somehow when you think about it, it's also the image that the Japanese, especially Tokyoite, have of us as French. One of the manga that will have marked the growth of wine consumption in Japan is “Gouttes de Dieu”, released in the 2000s.

The Japanese have a funny way of consuming wine

I imagine everyone in France drinks wine in a wine glass or, if applicable, in a glass.

Did you know that Japan had Beaujolais Nouveau before the French? So hey, I'm not going to express myself on what I think of Beaujolais ... But the Japanese have it before us and above all do things with it that is very ... funny. You should know that Beaujolais is not especially consumed in a wine glass. Some Onsen in Japan are turning to wine. Indeed it is possible during Beaujolais Nouveau to find onsen filled with Beaujolais wine . A rather crazy moment, outside of our European vision. That said, this is what we love about Japan!

Wine in Japan, but not for everyone

As said before, we tend to assimilate Japan to Tokyo, just as the Japanese assimilate France to Paris. We quickly realize that the inhabitants of Tokyo are much more sensitive to products coming from abroad. Including wine. Wine purchases in Japan are concentrated in Tokyo and the major cities.

The history of wine in Japan

Now that we've got the basics on foreign wine in Japan, it's time to talk about Japanese wine .

According to balade du sakura , in the 16 th century , it is with the arrival of Europeans on the archipelago, and therefore also of the religion of Christianity, that the first wines would be produced in Japan.

It was in the Meiji era in the 18 th century that the first winemaking took place in Yamanashi prefecture. If there is a name to remember from this era, it is Zenbei Kawakami . This winemaker developed “Muscat Bailey A”, a red wine variety.

The Japanese grape variety

" Koshu " is the main Japanese grape that we know but is not the only one that exists in Japan. "Koshu" is a grape variety made from white grapes, grown in trellises in the form of a pergola. For the cultivated, a climate similar to that of the region of Mount Fuji is required.

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