Japanese domestic wine production on the rise

Spurred on by Japanese wine’s growing global popularity, the country’s domestic wine production is rising gradually following a tightening of regulations that distinguish between wines made from locally grown or imported grapes.

Main wine regions in Japan

According to the country’s National Tax Agency, 15,849 kilolitres of Japanese wine was shipped in the 2016 fiscal year, representing a 5.2% year-on-year increase.

Based on Japan’s wine label regulation, only wines produced entirely from grapes harvested in Japan and without the addition of water as an ingredient during the fermentation and maturation process, can be called ‘Japanese wine’, as previously reported by dbHK .

However, ‘domestic wine’ can be used to indicate wines that are made in Japan from imported grapes.

A study conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries found that 17,280 tons of wine grapes were produced in 2015, the highest since 2003.

Meanwhile, exports are growing as well, with an annual jump of 26% in 2016, Nippon reported.

There are over 200 wineries in 47 prefectures in Japan, and sales under domestic labels accounted for 32% of all the wine sales in the country in 2010, according to The Oxford Companion to Wine.

The main winemaking regions are located in Yamanashi, Nagano, Yamagata and Hokkaido, with its indigenous white grape Koshu among the most well-known varieties coming from the country.

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