Blend your own bottle of wine!

Updated: Mar 17


As shared in the 'What is Japanese Wine' article earlier, there has been an increasing wine consumption in Japan in the past 10-20 years, largely owing to the boom of 'Japanese Wine'.


Today, we will be sharing with you an interesting workshop that will allow you to put together your own bottle of wine, by the art of blending.


The host of this workshop is Mannes Wine, as mentioned in this article, they are under the Kikkoman Group, yes, the company most well-known for its soy sauce.


Workshop itself costs JPY 7,700 (around USD 70), and it includes:

  1. Fee to attend the workshop

  2. Creation kit (Assemblage Box) that will be shipped to your house

  3. A bottle of original wine that will also be shipped to your house

The Creation Kit

Upon registration, a creation kit will be shipped to your house, and what comes with the creation kit are 5 small bottles of wine (aka ‘Cuvée') and a spuit (yes, feels like we're back in a science lab).

  1. Muscat Bailey A 2019

  2. Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

  3. Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel Aged 2015

  4. Merlot 2018

  5. Petit Verdot 2017

Workshop Day

On the day of the workshop, participants are connected through Zoom. Workshop itself is roughly 2 hours in duration, and mainly consists of 5 parts:


Part 1. Lecture

Part 2. Tasting and understanding each Cuvée

Part 3. Tasting pre-determined blends

Part 4. Creating your own blend

Part 5. Share your blend and taste with others



Part 1. Lecture


Contents covered in this part were pretty basics. The host explained which part of wine making process does blending come in, how it is a special privilege that only a few get to experience, and why they started hosting this workshop to begin with. Examples of Bordeaux being a textbook definition of art of blending was introduced, while terms used int he workshop were also covered.

Part 2. Tasting and understanding each Cuvée


After a brief lecture, we moved on to taste each of the 5 Cuvées while taking notes of the wine's look, smell, and taste. Understanding characteristics of each Cuvée was an essential step in creating the perfect blend each one of us had in mind. The Japanese native grape variety Muscat Bailey A for instance, is full of fruity aromas, light bodied, with high acidity. Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel Aged Cuvée on the other hand, is on the other side of the spectrum, full body, dry, and it being barrel aged provides additional flavors of vanilla and smoke. These notes came in handy at later steps, when we decide what characteristics we want our wine to have, and how we can blend our wine to achieve our ideal tastes.

Part 3. Tasting pre-determined blends


After tasting and understanding each Cuvée, we moved on to blending four pre-determined blends, to experience how blending of the different Cuvées affects the change in looks, smells, taste of a wine.


For instance, how these two bottles differ, when only 17% of the blend is changed.


28% Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

28% Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel Aged 2015

28% Merlot 2018

17% Petit Verdot 2017


28% Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

28% Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel Aged 2015

28% Merlot 2018

17% Muscat Bailey A 2019


It was very interesting to see how some of the more powerful wine overtakes the taste of an entire bottle, even with just a 10% make-up, or how big of a difference it makes with the more light-bodied wine adding subtle touches to the aftertaste of a wine, making it just that much more elegant and interesting.


Part 4. Creating your own blend


After understanding first hand how blending affects the personality of a wine, you can now experience and create your own perfect blend. Throughout the workshop, the host reminded participants to have a think about what theme each of us wanted to have with our wine. It can be from the actual characteristics of a wine, for instance, medium body, fruity, barrel aged. Or it can be when the wine should be drunk, for instance, on a Sunday morning, at a party with your best friends, on a lazy weekday afternoon while you are on holiday etc. With each of us having a theme in mind, we grabbed our spuit, and started measuring and trying out the different blends.


There's a table on the provided sheet that comes in very handy, when need to measure precisely the amount of the each Cuvée needed to create our ideal blend. For instance 25% = 5 ml, 60% = 12 ml etc. The ratios can be adjusted at an increment of 5%. What followed was a 30 minute window where each of us try our different blends at different ratios, writing notes next to the blends on what characteristic stood out, what we want more of or less of, and just continued blending and tasting.


Part 5. Share your blend and taste with others


After multiple attempts of trial and error, you should now have your perfect blend ready. Final part of the workshop is where we share our own blends with one another, what our theme was when creating this blend, and actually making them and taste them.


Mine for instance was created with 'Tokyo Olympics' as my theme. Olympics for me is not just an international affair, but rather an event where all countries come as one. With a blend of Muscat Bailey A, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot, I was able to create a complicated yet elegant bottle of wine that I was aiming for, while keeping a Japanese touch to it.


It was fun to hear others' stories and their take on what that blend is ideal for their specific themes, and why. What added to the excitement was the fact that most of us were more or less tipsy. Although this session was in no way a deep-dive session about wine-making, it sure was an interesting workshop that let's you experience first-hand, on the art of blending.


Look forward to the arrival of my bottle of wine, the 'Tokyo Olympics'!




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