Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Suntory, traditional Japanese food and alcoholic drinks company that has discreetly become a significant player in the world’s wine business. Founded in 1899, the company was selling a sweet red wine in 1907, and by 1936 was developing its vineyards in the Tomi no Oka region of Yamanashi prefecture. It has since invested considerably in developing viticultural and oenological prowess in japan and is one of the country’s most important wine producers.

Its first foreign acquisition was Ch Lagrange in st-julien in 1983 when Suntory became the first non-Western company to own a Bordeaux classed growth. Five years later they acquired Weingut Robert Weil, one of the best-run estates in the rheingau, still run by Wilhelm Weil. Both properties have benefited from considerable investment. In 2010, when the Chinese wine market was booming, they acquired ASC, one of China’s most successful importers, together with its Hong Kong and Macau operations. In Bordeaux, Suntory first participated with castel in Grands Millésimes de France in 1989 and the company now operates both Châteaux Beychevelle and Beaumont as well as the négociant Barrière Frères.