Katsunuma Wine Country, Yamanashi – September 22, 2019

We visited Katsunuma wine country in Yamanashi.

We took the Limited Express train. From Shinjuku it takes an hour and a half and costs approximately JPY3,500.

We met with David Ellis who runs an Airbnb and runs tours of Katsunuma wine country. He kindly showed us around and introduced us to some of his favorite wineries – Marufuji (known for their wine under the Rubaiyat label), Lumiere, Katsunuma and MGVs. We also visited Maruki, the oldest winery in Japan.

View from Maruki Winery

This could be considered an epic fail on my part. I was too eager to try the wine that I failed to take a photo of the winery itself. From the second floor balcony, you can see this stunning view of Katsunuma. I also bought a bottle of a wonderfully oaky medium bodied Muscat Bailey A, a local varietal.

Wine from Maruki Winery – Muscat Bailey A

This wine was enjoyed over some aged Mimollete

From Maruki we went to Marufuji. Once you get from JR Enzan station to wine country (a short cab ride), you can visit most of the wineries on foot.

Walking through the vineyards.

Marufuji winery

Tasted a wonderful Koshu, another Japanese varietal.

We did a tour of the winery.

Lumiere Winery

Next we visited Lumiere. I heard they have a wonderful restaurant, but we could not try it as it was fully booked.

Next was Katsunuma winery. For some reason, I only took a picture of their wine glasses collection. I can assure you I did a lot of tasting!

Finally MGVs, a winery

Fashionable contraption!

This winery is unique in that it is a converted semi conductor factory. The clean room is apparently ideal for making Koshu white wine – which our taste buds confirmed. The owner, Mr. Matsuzaka, took time to speak with us about his winery. It is clearly evident that Mr. Matsuzaka has a very strong vision and sense of style —this can be seen in every detail from the decor of the winery, the unique dispensers for the wine, the unusual shape of the sparking wine bottle, and the labeling system. As for the wines, they were wonderful. I recommend the sparkling K537!

We returned to Enzan station by cab and then took the train back to Tokyo with a little more than a buzz all the way home…

Review: Katsunuma is definitely worth a visit. A lot of exciting wine is being produced in Katsunuma wine country. It’s easy to get to –just an hour and a half from central Tokyo on the Limited Express and then a short taxi ride from Enzan station.

Recommendation level (out of five stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We have written a book. For more information on Japanese beverages, please check it out. You can get it at fine offline and online booksellers in Japan, including on Amazon.


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