Wine preparation using Muscat Bailey A began on the 6th October at Iwanohara Vineyard in the north of Joetsu City, Niigata Prefecture. Muscat Bailey A is one of the wine grape varieties that were created by Zenbei Kawakami who is said to be the father of Japanese wine grapes.
At Iwanohara Vineyard, grapes have been harvested since late August and staff have been working on wine preparation.
At the beginning of the preparation work, the fruit is lightly squeezed while removing the twigs from the bunch of grapes with a machine. Then, while running on a conveyor, unripe fruits and leftover twigs are removed by hand. This process is mainly done only for Muscat Bailey A. According to Mr. Ueno, the chief engineer of the manufacturing department, “The twigs and the badly colored red grapes are excluded. The badly colored ones have a low sugar content.”
Muscat Bailey A accounts for 60% of the grapes cultivated in the vineyard. Approximately 3.3 tons were prepared on the 6th October. After that, the grapes are fermented in a tank for a week to extract tannins and let the grapes settle. After that, the grapes are packed in barrels, stored and aged. They will be shipped as premium wine from Iwanohara Vineyard in the fall of next year.
Mr. Ueno said, “The weather was good in September, and the temperature difference was great. It was warm during the day and quite cool at night. Apparently, the color is black and the grapes are ripe, and ready to use. There was little rain in September, and good grapes were harvested. This year’s grapes are small sized, the spacing is good and not too tightly-packed. The grapes have abundant juice, and have a good ripeness and sugar content. Please look forward to this year’s (2021) vintage. Our mission is to make good wine from Mr Zenbei’s Muscat Bailey A, and have customers enjoy it. I definitely want to make good wine. “
Address: 1223 Kitakata, Joetsu City
Access: 20 minutes from Joetsu Myoko Station on the Hokuriku Shinkansen