[Food & Beverages domain]

Consulting Business For Start-up Wineries

- Creating a sustainable Japanese wine industry by taking advantage of vast winemaking expertise -

  • Products and Services

September 29, 2022

Mercian Corporation

TOKYO – September 29, 2022 - Mercian Corporation (Mercian) has launched a consulting business for start-up wineries as a new initiative to promote the Japanese wine industry. The consulting services are currently being provided to four wineries in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures - in addition to supporting more wineries in the future - with the aim of becoming a pipeline for the sustainable growth of the Japanese wine industry.

While wine market growth in Japan in some recent years has been sluggish, the Japanese wine market has grown overall by about 1.5 times from 2015 to 2021.*1 The number of wineries has also continued to increase, approximately 1.5 times in the last five years. *1
*1: Per Japan’s National Tax Administration Agency statistics reports.

On the other hand, many start-up wineries face challenges in terms of growing and winemaking techniques and quality, as the majority of wineries are low-profit and small, and there are limited places in Japan where one can statistically learn everything from viticulture to winemaking.

In order to help solve these and other issues related to the Japanese wine industry, Merican has started a consulting business for start-up wineries, leveraging the vast experience of its current and past human resources as well as 145 years of winemaking experience.

Specifically, Mercian will provide technical support for wine grape cultivation, winemaking, production, as well as a wide range of marketing and sales consulting services to help wineries meet their specific challenges.

The Kirin Group aims to be one of the world's leading CSV*2 companies, focusing on solving social issues in health, community, and environment based on the premise of its responsibility as an alcoholic beverage manufacturer. As a part of the Kirin Group, Mercian aims to contribute to the development of a sustainable Japanese wine industry as well as revitalize and make the Japanese wine market more attractive by leveraging the human resources and intellectual property cultivated through its 145 years of Japanese winemaking.
*2: Creating Shared Value: combined added value for consumers as well as for society at large.

Consulting Case Studies

1. MK Farm Kobushi (Michinoku KUBOTA Group): Hanamaki City, Iwate Prefecture

Established September 2017
Production Output 3 tons (grape harvest only; winery has not been established yet)
Wine Varieties Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc.
Consulting Start Date April 2021
Consulting Points How to identify grapes
How to find the right winery to outsource
How to vinify and nurture the grapes according to their potential at the contracted winery

2. Art Paysan Winery: Hanamaki City, Iwate Prefecture

Established April 2019
Production Output 4KL
Wine Varieties Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Merlot, Muscat Bailey A, etc.
Consulting Start Date August 2021
Consulting Points Guidance on the best time to harvest (analysis of sugar content, acidity, etc.)
Determination of grape potential
Preparation of grapes according to grape type (two-stage selection) and vinification methods

3. Akiu Winery:Sendai city,Miyagi Prefecture

Established December 2015
Production Output 30KL
Wine Varieties Koshu, Chardonnay, Muscat Bailey A, Delaware, Merlot, etc.
Consulting Start Date July 2022
Consulting Points Canopy management (optimal defoliation and control methods, etc.)
Guidance on the proper preparation of grapes according to their condition.
Quality control methods for juice

4. MINAMI SANRIKU Winery: Minamisanriku Town,Miyagi Prefecture

Established February 2019
Production Output 20KL
Wine Varieties Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bijnoir, etc.
Consulting Start Date September 2022
Consulting Points To be decided


Katsuhisa Fujino, Château Mercian Senior Winemaker
Joined Mercian in 1979.
He has been seconded to Château Reysson (Bordeaux) in 1992, Director of Mercian Europe Office in 1996.
Taking advantage of extensive overseas experience, he was selected as the judge of many international wine competitions such as the “Les Citadelles du Vin” (International Wine Competition) and many others.
Currently the Special Advisor of Japan Wineries Association, and the Wine Chairman of Japan Wines and Spirits Importers’ Association.
Holds many certificates such as DUAD*3, Oenologue, Senior Sommelier etc.
Through his public and private friendship with late Mr. Paul Pontallier, the General Manager of Château Margaux, he has been making use its wine philosophy to the Château Mercian brand building.
*3: Diplôme Universitaire d'Aptitude à la Dégustation

About Kirin Holdings

Kirin Holdings Company, Limited is an international company that operates in the Food & Beverages domain (Food & Beverages businesses), Pharmaceuticals domain (Pharmaceuticals businesses), and Health Science domain (Health Science business), both in Japan and across the globe.

Kirin Holdings can trace its roots to Japan Brewery which was established in 1885. Japan Brewery became Kirin Brewery in 1907. Since then, the company expanded its business with fermentation and biotechnology as its core technologies, and entered the pharmaceutical business in the 1980s, all of which continue to be global growth centers. In 2007, Kirin Holdings was established as a pure holding company and is currently focusing on boosting its Health Science domain.

Under the Kirin Group Vision 2027 (KV 2027), a long-term management plan launched in 2019, the Kirin Group aims to become “A global leader in CSV*, creating value across our world of Food & Beverages to Pharmaceuticals.” Going forward, the Kirin Group will continue to leverage its strengths to create both social and economic value through its businesses, with the aim of achieving sustainable growth in corporate value.

* Creating Shared Value: combined added value for consumers as well as for society at large.

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