Japan: Vine varieties

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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History, the dominant demand for table grapes, and the climatic vagaries with which growers have had to contend over the years, have combined to result in the rather exotic range of grape varieties which form the basis of viticulture in Japan.

The most significant Japanese variety, and the undoubted sentimental favourite of the Japanese, is koshu. This is the descendant of the vines carried along the Silk Road to Japan 800 to 1,200 years ago and, in the public eye at least, is virtually synonymous with the industry of Katsunuma, which has over 90% of the total Koshu vineyard area.