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Japanese Wine

Japan is not known for its wine, except for Sake, a fortified rice wine.  Because of this, it can be hard to find any information on wine in Japan.  However, here are a few facts on wine as we know it – the ones based on grapes.

Japanese Wine Facts
The majority of wine distribution companies are in Osaka and Tokyo
Wine distribution companies build personal relationships with viticulturists of whom they buy.
Because wine is mainly imported into Japan, it can be quite expensive.

There are numerous wine clubs in Japan, using the drink as a social activity.  Most of these were started by wine shops.
Most of the dedicated wine shops deal solely with organic wines.
Japanese attach almost as much importance to the prestige of a certain wine (who made it, where it was made and how much it cost) as what they do to the taste.
Some of the upper classes of Japanese society are becoming increasingly interested in special edition and vintage wines.
Wine gifts are incredibly popular in Japan.

Japanese Sake
Sake is known as a rice wine and is a traditionally Japanese drink.  Although known across the world as “rice wine”, the fermentation process it goes through actually make it a rice beer.  Hence, Japan doesn’t currently produce any wine itself.  Interestingly, grape production is becoming more prevalent and wide-spread, and it is believed that the production of wine will soon commence.  In fact, some would suggest that individual grapevine owners have already started producing wines, although solely for personal use, rather than for production and export.  Because the Japanese are very big on decorum and they  love wine gifts, some have suggested that those who create their own wines have done so either to give as original gifts, or to pretend that they are higher up the social ladder for being able to afford wine – without mentioning they have actually produced it themselves.

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