Women in Wine: Japan’s Ayana Misawa and Koshu Grape

I wanted to write about Japan again today and realized I know very little about their wine culture which is apparently quite long and varied. I knew about their rice wine culture and have even taken classes on that from the wonderful Michael John Simkin of MJS Sake Selections. His knowledge is encyclopedic and his enthusiasm infectious. If you see one of his classes anywhere take it.

That said, I repeat my knowledge of Japanese wine drinking trends, habits and products is very limited. Then I found this entry on Wikipedia and was quite intrigued.

I discovered that there is even an indigenous grape that everyone is betting on called Koshu and a very snappy young women in wine named Ayana Misawa, daughter of Shigekazu Misawa, the owner of Grace Winery.

A majority of the wines produced at Grace winery come from this gray grape. They also plant international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. The winery was planted in 1923.

Ayana is one of only two or three female winemakers in Japan. Here she is on Youtube. talking about her wines. I haven’t had the good fortune to try them but here is a description from another blogger in Australia, Sarah Winehouse. It seems that Misawa travels there often and gives Master classes on her wines. I’d love to taste one of them over here.

Price I discovered is a problem for these wines but that is to be expected. As I write this post I’m sipping a delicious extra dry sake from Harushika. It’s been in my fridge for ages but it’s still fresh as can be.

I just want to keep writing about Japan so that we all keep it in our minds at this sad time. The pictures in the New York Times today looked as if they were out of a horror film about the end of the world. Everyone looks to different things in times such as these, friends, family, loved ones, pets, alcohol but I think what we all look for is community. These blog posts about Japan are my way of showing community with that nation, as are my donations to various relief organizations.

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