JAPAN’S MAJOR WINE PRODUCERS TO DOUBLE VINEYARD AREAS BY 2027
By Susan Lewis
In response to the ever-increasing popularity of Japanese wines, Japan’s four major wine producers are planning to almost double the acreage of their vineyards by 2027, according to a report by Nikkei Asian Review.
The expansion decisions had been encouraged by a new labelling rule introduced last October that defined "Japanese wines" as wines made from 100% Japan-grown grapes and fermented entirely in the country.
This new rule replaced the previous loose labelling standard of "domestic wines" which allowed the use of concentrated grape juice from abroad as long as there is wine made in Japan in the bottle.
Kirin Holdings’ wine producing arm Chateau Mercian currently has 50 hectares under vine, the winery began exporting Japanese wines to Europe in March and is planning to expand vineyards by 50% to 76 hectares by 2027.
Global wine and spirits giant Suntory Holdings is planning to double its acreage to over 50 hectares.
Sapporo Holdings has made substantial investment in the northern island of Hokkaido, and plans to increase the company's acreage by 150% to 41 hectares by 2025.
Asahi Group, meanwhile, is planting vines in 6 hectares of newly acquired land in Hokkaido, in addition to an existing 1 hectare in the Yamanashi Prefecture. The company is hoping to expand vineyard areas to over 10 hectares across Japan by 2025.
By year 2027, Japan’s big four will have a total of 170 hectares of vineyards, which would amount to about 20% of all grape cultivation in Japan.
Most Japanese wines are made from indigenous white variety Koshu and Japan bred hybrid red variety Muscat Bailey A, both are rarely available from other wine producing countries.
These Japanese varieties have become more familiar to the global market and have performed well in international awards in recent years, fuelling hopes for export growth for Japanese producers.
(the writer can be contacted at: SusanLewis@thewinechronicle.com)
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