Updated: May 7
Overall review: Sadoya Winery likely will be one of the more impressive winery visits you will have in Japan, and that is mainly due to 3 reasons: their long history, incredible accessibility, and large scale. Winery itself opened in the year 1917, so it already has more than 100 years of history as one of the oldest operating wineries in Japan. A good variety of wines are produced at Sadoya Winery, including sparkling, white, and red, while varieties range from Cabernet Sauvignon, Muscat Bailey A, Sémillon, Koshu, to Chardonnay. One thing the different bottles all have in common however, is that they are all on the dry side. At the winery tour, the director of the winery shared with us how they age all of their wines in new French oak barrels, the history and the evolution of the winery, and more. Despite the wines offered for tasting were not of the highest quality, the overall winery visit experience was still wonderful and worth recommending. Especially considering its amazing accessibility. Winery is located just 5 minutes away from Kofu station on foot, while its self-run vineyards is also just 10 minutes away by car.
After walking for just 5 minutes from Kofu Satation, you will arrive at Sadoya Winery. The location is incredibly convenient. It is very difficult to imagine that a winery of this size would be sitting right in the neighborhood of downtown Kofu city.
We are here today for wine however, so let's go to their main building, the Sadoya Wine Boutique, to check-in to our pre-booked winery tour.
The tour we booked is their premium winery tour, which is just launched a year ago. The premium tour comes at a cost of 2,000 yen / person, roughly $20 USD, compared to the standard tours that is just half of that (1,000 yen / person).
What is different? First off, the guide for your winery tour is different. Standard tours are guided by the shop staffs, while premium tours are guided by the directors of the winery. Secondly, duration of tour is longer for the premium, at roughly 1 hour, while standard tours run for just 40 minutes. Lastly, wine tasting, premium tour comes with tasting of 3 bottles of wine, while standard tours do not.
After checking-in at the reception, we still had a few minutes before our tour begins, so we took a look around at the interiors, which were quite impressive.
Just next to the reception, you have a wall of nicely displayed bottles and glasses, essentially your 'wine tasting counter'.
While to the right of the reception, is where the wine shop sits. Broad range of wines available for purchase, ranging from well-aged red wines to their newly launched sparkling.
To the left of the reception, you have more beautifully designed interiors, apparently this place was just renovated last year, and they hired a designer from Tokyo for it!
What stood out about this winery is that not only are their interiors modern, they also managed to balance that with a nostalgic feel, by putting up many symbolic historical photos of the winery, signifying its history and footprints til date.
Again very trendy, almost felt like an art gallery in a way.
After just a few minutes, the tour started spot on on time.
The entire winery tour took place underground. They have one of the largest underground wine caves I have seen in Japan. Here are some shots from the winery tour.
We were guided by the Director of Sadoya Winery, Ono-san. A very nice gentleman.
2012 is one of the best vintages in the recent decades, one of personal favorites of Ono-san.
While this 1962 Cabernet Sauvignon apparently sold for millions and millions of Japanese Yen after being introduced by Matsuko, one of the most famous celebrities in Japan, on one of his hit shows 'The Unknown World of Matsuko'.
This 1955 bottle is one of the oldest bottles they have.
After the tour, we went back to the Wine Boutique, and tasted 3 bottles of wine, including their new release of the sparkling, their signature white, and red wine.
Our winery visit ended in laughter while chatting with Ono-san, while tipsy as usual, embracing and enjoying the beautiful space at their Wine Boutique.
Japanese Wine Guide Review