Katsunuma, Koshu City in Yamanashi prefecture is Japan’s wine country. It is located in the east of the Kofu Basin, a one and a half hour trip from Tokyo by train.
Situated on the foothills of Mt. Fuji, Katsunuma is surrounded by beautiful mountains and pristine nature. Since long ago, many kinds of fruits have been cultivated in Katsunuma, giving it its reputation as the home of Japanese grapes and wine.
The Japanese traditional grape variety, Koshu, which is gaining popularity in the world market, is the most important conventional wine variety grape in Japan.
Approximately 1000 years ago, it is thought to have come from the Caucasus by crossing the Silk Road, making its way from China to Japan.
Koshu grapes took root in Katsunuma because it enjoys a continental climate with a large temperature difference. The long hours of sunlight and good soil drainage make it perfect for cultivating grapes.
On August of 1877, the first Japanese winemaking company, Dai-Nihon Yamanashi Budoshu, was established in Katsunuma under a governmental policy to promote industrial development.
In the same year, two young men, Masanari Takano and Sukejiro Tsuchiya, were sent to France to study winemaking. They returned to Japan with a mission: make wine using French methods. They used Ajiron Duck grapes for red winemaking, but the Koshu variety for white. Since then, Japanese wine producers have put every effort into wine production, and expanded the number of wineries in Katsunuma to 30.