Updated: Mar 17
This is likely a characteristic unique to Japan, but major Japanese Wine brands actually all have one thing in common, that is their ties to 'Japanese Beer'!
For example, renowned wine brand Château Mercian is owned by Kirin, while Tomi no Oka is owned by Suntory. Today let's take a look at all the different ties Japanese Wine brands have with their respective parent companies.
Kirin and Château Mercian
Château Mercian Overview
Vineyards: Yamanashi / Nagano / Akita / Fukushima
Wineries: Katsunuma Winery / Kikyogahara Winery / Mariko Winery
One of the most well-known wineries in Japan, Château Mercian is also known as the origin of Japanese wine.
'Finesse & Elegance' is the philosophy of Château Mercian
Grape varieties grown in vineyards in Yamanashi include Koshu, Muscat Bailey A, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Chardonnay
Grape varieties grown in vineyards in Nagano include Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah
Grape varieties grown in vineyards in Fukushima include Chardonnay and Alvarinho
Grape varieties grown in vineyards in Akita include Riesling and Kerner
Sapporo and Grande Polaire
Overview of Grande Polaire
Vineyards: Hokkaido Yoichi / Nagano / Yamanashi / Okayama
Wineries: Katsunuma Winery / Okayama Winery
Among the different vineyards of Grande Polaire, there is one in focus, the 'Azuminoikeda Vineyard'. Azuminoikeda Vineyard, located in Nihon Alps Wine Valley of Nagano Prefecture, is the vineyard Grande Polaire is using to test out and challenge all boundaries and possibilities of Japanese Wine. Grape varieties grown at this vineyard include Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
Grape varieties grown in vineyards in Nagano include Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
Grape varieties grown in vineyards in Yamanashi include Koshu and Kai Noir
Grape varieties grown in vineyards in Okayama include Muscat Bailey A and Muscat of Alexandria
Suntory and Tomi No Oka
Overview of Tomi No Oka
In addition to Tomi No Oka, Suntory operates its wine production in two more 'series', the 'Shiojiri' series and the 'Japan Premium' series
Suntory has been conducting global wine business in cooperation with distinguished wineries throughout the world. For example, Suntory acquired the management rights to the Château Lagrange winery in Bordeaux France in 1983, becoming the first non-Western company to operate a Bordeaux Grand Cru Château
In 1936, Suntory joined hands with Zenbei Kawakami, often called the father of Japanese viticulture, to operate a vineyard in Tomi No Oka
Wine produced from Suntory has been receiving international recognition and awards in recent years, for example 'Tomi No Oka Koshu 2017' won the Platinum medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) 2019
Asahi and Sainte Neige
Overview of Saint Neige
Vineyards: Yamanashi / Yamagata / Hokkaido
5 key words: Philosophy, Grapes, Taste, History, Human
Lastly, as a bonus tip, there is one more Japanese Wine brand that is closely tied to a major food & beverage corporation, 'Mannes Wines'.
Instead of parent company being a 'beer' manufacturer however, for Mannes Wines, it is the world's #1 producer of soy sauce, 'Kikkoman'.
Kikkoman and Mannes Wines
Overview of Mannes Wines
Vineyards: Yamanashi / Nagano
Wineries: Katsunuma Winery / Komoro Winery
Grape variety grown include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Shinano Riesling, Koshu, Muscat Bailey A