Everything you need to know about Koshu from Japan

Koshu – a summary

  • It is thought that Koshu’s origins in Japan can be traced back to 1186 when it was discovered growing wild at Katsunuma in Yamanashi prefecture.
  • It is a hybrid grape, believed to have originated naturally by a crossing of the European Vitis vinifera and an Asian Vitis species.
  • According to Wine Grapes (Robinson et al), Koshu’s DNA profile does not match any other known variety and its exact origin remains unknown.
  • Koshu produces medium-sized bunches of large, thick-skinned, pink-tinged berries.
  • The grape has been favoured for a long time in Japan’s humid climate because it is resistant to botrytis bunch rot. > Koshu is Japan’s most planted grape, and 95% of plantings are found in Yamanashi prefecture.
  • Koshu produces delicate white wines that rarely exceed 12% ABV.
  • The grape can also be used to produce richer versions when grown in low-yielding sites, or if cellar practices allow – with techniques including extended skin contact and/or lees contact, barrel fermentation and cryoextraction.
  • The grape can also be used to make quality sparkling wine.
  • Its range of styles, from the lightest to fullest, are particularly good complements to Japanese raw-fish cuisine, from subtle types to the salty, creamy sea urchin ‘uni’.
  • In 2009, Koshu of Japan was founded to champion the grape, and in 2013, Koshu was recognised by the OIV.

One Response to “Everything you need to know about Koshu from Japan”

  1. Max Palmer says:

    Hello DB,
    Just wanted to say thank you for a wonderful Koshu tasting on Monday.

    I would very much like to know who we can buy from,I need to convince some colleagues that it is a sure fire winner and we are outside London !!!! how daring.

    So any information would be much appreciated.

    Thanks again for an exceptional tasting.

    Best regards,


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