Updated: Mar 17
“Yamasachi (山幸)”, a red grape variety produced by Ikeda Town in eastern Hokkaido, will be registered in the list of vine varieties of O.I.V. (The International Organisation of Vine and Wine). It is the third Japanese indigenous variety to be registered at O.I.V., first being Koshu in 2010, and second being Muscat Bailey A in 2013, both of which have been the most symbolic grape varieties of Japanese Wine.
Being registered at the O.I.V. means that Yamasachi can now be labeled as a grape variety on wine bottles when exported to the European Union (EU) countries, instead of simply being generically labeled as 'Japanese red wine'.
So what is Yamasachi to begin with?
Yamasachi is a further hybrid between “Kiyomi”, a French hybrid Seibel 13053, and "Yamabudou", a Japan native variety known for its resistance to cold temperatures. Kiyomi grown in Hokkaido used to be extremely labor-intensive as growers would bury the Kiyomi vines during fall to prevent vines from freezing in winter, given the insufficient snow cover during the winter months. They then need to unbury the vines again in spring. However, with the further hybrid variety Yamasachi, vines are not only able to withstand Hokkaido's extremely cold winters, they also inherit Yamabudou's darker-colored grape skin, and produce fruitier, fuller-bodied, higher acidity wines with higher tannin.