2.2b More sustainable production of raw materials
Kirin Group will drive development of Japanese wines to ensure their global recognition and contribute to revitalizing key producing areas and local communities, which are the foundations of growing grapes and making wines.
- We will vitalize the community by attracting customers to wineries while also elevating the international reputation for Japanese wine through Château Mercian.
- Quality of grapes will be improved by feeding back the skills learned through our vineyards to grape growers to stably secure grapes that make high quality Japanese wine. Furthermore, on the long-term, we will plant more vines for Japanese wine.
1) Number of visitors who purchased our products at our cellar doors and winery shops
2) Volume of grapes produced at our vineyards
Goals for 2021
1) Group targets are under consideration
2) 200 t (in 2027)
Japan recognized as one of the world's foremost wine regions
We have grown grapes and explored winemaking in pursuit of the ultimate wine that can only be made in Japan. And at the roots of our winery is the deep connections that we’ve built with the people of the community. We will create deeper and greater ties with the community, mainly around our three wineries in Katsunuma, Kikyohagara, and Mariko, to bring Château Mercian wine to more wine lovers. At Château Mercian, our mission is to join hands with the community in becoming Japan recognized as one of the world's foremost wine regions and Japanese wine will be loved by the people in Japan and around the world.
The right variety in the right place
Château Mercian’s roots can be traced back to Japan’s oldest private winery, Dai-Nihon Yamanashi Budoshu Gaisha, founded in the current town of Katsunuma in Koshu City, Yamanashi Prefecture in 1877. To present, Château Mercian has pursued the cultivation of high-quality grapes to create the best wine that could only be made in Japan, and explored grape varieties that thrive in the given land and climate to pair the best region. Today, Château Mercian’s vineyards spread across the four prefectures of Yamanashi, Nagano, Akita, and Fukushima.
Elevating the standards of Japanese wine
“At first, we should care for the grape quality.”
Grapes are the most important element that determines the flavor of wine. Château Mercian makes frequent visits to our grape growers to share the insights we’ve discovered through our vineyards. For each season, we work to elevate quality through vineyard management, whether it be selecting buds to remain and removing the rest, shoot training, harvest timing, or winter pruning.
With regards to Koshu, a grape variety that is indigenous to Japan, we were the first in the industry to apply the Sur Lie method and succeeded in developing a savory dry wine. This was followed by the successful viticulture and making of Château Mercian Tamamoro Koshu Kiiroka, a wine highlighted by its fresh citrus aroma. This winemaking technology that can well be considered our “trade secret” was shared with our fellow wineries to elevate the quality of wines produced across the entire region.
Together with the community
Viticulture faces the same issues as the entire agricultural community of Japan.
We work to conserve and maintain community agriculture in the long term by expanding our vineyards to support aging grape growers, making good use of idle farmland, and purchasing grapes from grape growers on a constant basis.
Since 2008, with the signing of an academic-industrial alliance with the city of Shiojiri, we have continued to overcome challenges together with the community through grape cultivation by dispatching instructors, providing technical guidance including seminars on vinification and wine analysis and training on grape pruning, as well as developing talent for the future of the wine industry.
In our search for vast pieces of land for growing grapes that make high-quality wine, Château Mercian discovered prime land in Ueda City of Nagano Prefecture, which led to the opening of the Mariko Vineyard. We used our know-how of grape cultivation accumulated to that time, carried out vertical shoot positioning, and challenged to grow grapes of even higher quality. This led to the opening of Château Mercian Mariko Winery in 2019.
Showcasing Japan to the World
Château Mercian Shinshu Kikyogahara Merlot 1985, one of the Château Mercian brand born in 1970, won the grand gold prize in the 1989 International Wine Competition.
Château Mercian has continued to win many international awards since. Château Mercian indicates the geographical location and the grape varieties on all of its labels to communicate their appeal to the people of the world.