Koshu wine heads for European cellars

The Yomiuri Shimbun

KOFU--Wine made from koshu--a variety of grape cultivated in Yamanashi Prefecture--has debuted on the European market after becoming the first variety originating in Japan to be officially certified by the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV), based in Paris.

Koshu wine is expected to find success in Europe, particularly because of the popularity there of Japanese cuisine.

Wines sold in the European Union can only be labeled as a certain variety--merlot, cabernet sauvignon and so on--if the cultivar is registered with the OIV. Koshu was registered in March.

The first shipment of 2,000 bottles of Grace Koshu Kayagatake and Grace Koshu Private Reserve left Tokyo Port last month, bound for Britain.

Those wines are both 2009 vintage whites produced by Grace Winery Co. in the Katsunumacho district of Koshu, Yamanashi Prefecture.

The Yamanashi Prefecture Wine Manufacturers Association plans to export 10,000 bottles of koshu wine produced by five firms in the prefecture this fiscal year.

"People can enjoy the taste of koshu wine together with Japanese cuisine," said food critic Masuhiro Yamamoto.

"It's refreshing, and has a mild aroma that doesn't intrude on the food's taste. I believe Europeans will enjoy it," he added.

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