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Japanese train station to release first wine

A train station in the Japanese city of Shiojiri is to release the first wine made from vines planted on its platforms in 1988.

Image: Shiojiri Tourism Association

Shiojiri, which is located in Japan’s central Nagano prefecture, has a long affinity with grape-growing. The prefecture is home to the wine regions of Chikumagawa, Kikyogahara, Nihon Alps and Tenryugawa and is perhaps best known for its Merlot. 

The train station planted a ‘vineyard’ on platforms three and four back in the late 80s as a way to promote local wine to tourists visiting the area.

The station’s Merlot and Niagara vines, which are trained on pergolas, are maintained by Japan Railways staff and locals, who can volunteer to help prune and harvest the grapes under guidance from local experts, according to Japan Today.

As reported by Wine Spectator‘s Unfiltered, the grapes have not been made into wine before, and are instead given to visitors or used for research by oenology students.

However, last year, for the first time, it was decided that the grapes would be used to produce wine to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Shiojiri’s elevation to city status. The resulting 100 bottles of wine, that were made at a local winery, will be released this month.

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