Japanese wineries expand production to sate domestic demand

A number of Japan’s major wineries are planning to expand their production capacity in the next few years in anticipation of growing demand for domestically produced wine.

Wines from Chateau Mercian

Mercian Corp, which owns Château Mercian in Koshu, has announced it is building two new wineries in Nagano prefecture, with one in Shiojiri and another in Ueda. The former is expected to open in September next year, while the latter is planned for autumn in 2019, reported Japan News.

With the two new wineries and its existing one in Koshu in the Yamanashi prefecture, the company aims to achieve wine sales of 67,000 cases in 2027, up from 35,000 cases sold last year.

Mercian president Teruyuki Daino says that he wants to purchase more wineries with the aim of tripling sales, NHK wrote.

In March this year, Asahi Breweries Ltd purchased four hectares of land in Hokkaido where it plans to grow high-quality Japanese grapes. It expects to purchase more land in the future to bring up its wines sales to 20,000 to 30,000 cases in 2025, up from its current level of 7,000 cases, according to the report.

In addition, Sapporo Breweries is gearing up to break into wine, by expanding its vineyards in Ikeda, Nagano prefecture, where it has introduced an artificial intelligence system to monitor grape growing conditions.

Japan is known for making domestic wines from its white grape Koshu and red grape Muscat Bailey A. Based on Japan’s wine label regulation, only wines produced 100% by grapes harvested in Japan and no addition of water as ingredient during the fermentation and maturation, can be called Japanese wine.

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