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About US

Grace Winery, (company name “Chuo Budoshu” in Japanese) was established in 1923 in Katsunuma, the birthplace of Japan’s wine industry and today the wine hub of Japan. Our brand name "Grace Wine" is named after the Three Graces. We believe good wines come from grapes which bear the characters of the place they originated from. We make constant effort to improve how grapes are grown in order to enhance their quality. After successful attempts as pioneers to adopt Vertical Shoot Positioning for Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay in 1990 in order to enhance flavour concentration, we expanded our vineyard holdings and applied the same techniques to Merlot and Petit Verdot. In 2002, we added to our portfolio the Misawa vineyard which employs the same grape-growing philosophy. Our Koshu grapes, the signature grape variety of Japan, are grown along the mountainous area of the region, which bring to us wines with more concentration and minerality. It is Grace’s vision to always bring the highest quality wines and the joy of wine drinking to you.

Shigekazu Misawa

President of Grace Winery

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The Koshu

The History of Koshu in Japan

Koshu, first cultivated more than 1,000 years ago in the Caucasus Region in Asia Minor, came to Japan together with Buddhism via the Silk Road through China. It localised itself and became native to Japan. When winemaking started in Japan in 1874, it quickly became not only the main, but also the most important variety.

Koshu bears a purplish-pink fruit. According to researches performed by the University of California, it is predominantly (over 90%) vitis vinifera, the European wine grape.

Thanks to the favourable location and climatic conditions, Katsunuma, in the Yamanashi prefecture, is the perfect breeding ground of Koshu. Katsunuma is an inland valley bearing a classic valley climate which enjoys long hours of sunshine, diurnal temperature variation and relatively little rain, conditions paramount for growing quality wine grapes.

Furthermore, Katsunuma is flanked by mountain water sources flowing into the valley, essential for the sometimes very warm summer weather. Soils are porous, which enables deep root penetration and good drainage.

We believe in the potential of Koshu

Only quality grapes from good climate and soils can produce good wines. We have spent considerable efforts in identifying premium sites such as Toriibira and Hishiyama, where high elevation concentrates grape flavours. We vinify grapes from different vineyards separately in order to preserve place characteristics to the maximum.

Viticulture makes all the differences! Koshu is traditionally trained along canes and grown on pergolas in order to avoid the high summer humidity. This gives very high yields and grapes with diluted flavours. In Toriibira, after long period of experimentation, we planted our Koshu along long cordons, resulting in lower yields, more balanced vines and more concentrated flavours. In 1992, we ventured one step further to improve our grapes by moving to the more densely spaced Vertical Shoot Positioning training method.

In addition, we have engaged ourselves starting 12 years ago in an ambitious project of trying to identify the original Koshu which was planted more than 1,000 years ago. We were brave enough to cultivate Koshu directly from seeds. This is so different from planting using stock vines! This is much more unpredictable on the one hand but so much more interesting on the other because it gives characteristics not found in the Koshu known to us until now. It is said there is only one in ten thousand chances we will succeed in identifying the original Koshu, but the bio-diversity that results from this project will be valuable as a first step in improving Koshu in the long term.

Akeno Koshu

Misawa Vineyard is located in Akeno-cho, Yamanashi prepecture, where is well known as the longest sunshine hours in Japan. Not only European varietals but also Koshu are cultivated there. To achieve Koshu’s full potential, a great amount of work has been done to locate the best vineyards plots and terroir, as well as to overhaul the traditional pergola trellising system in favour of vertical shoot positioning. After various trials starting 2005, we have succeeded in obtaining Koshu grapes which are concentrated in flavours and the resulting wine of great balance, intensity and complexity.

Akeno-cho has a high elevation at 2,300 feet, therefore resulting in an overall cool climate in European standard and is thus suited for the cultivation of high quality wine grapes. In addition, it boasts the longest growing season sunshine hours from April to October in Japan, which is 1600 hours. We believe Akeno has the best terroir for growing wine grapes in Japan.

Thanks to Akeno’s high elevation, harvest for Koshu, which is a late ripening variety, is between the end of October and the beginning of November. In Japan, the summer is wet with plenty of rain and carries a southerly wind. To facilitate a drier environment in order to minimise disease pressure, the grapes are cultivated along ridges in the north-south direction in order to facilitate the flow of the summer wind. Besides, the ridges, which are about 2.3 feet in height, provides for good drainage too, an all too important factor for successful grape growing in Japan. Frequent occurrences of typhoons in September (luckily not in 2013) and plenty of sunny days in October also mean that Akeno is perfect for cultivating Koshu. We insist on the growing of Koshu with VSP, instead of the traditional pergolas. The resulting Koshu grapes have smaller berries and thicker skins compared to those grown under pergolas, their flavours are riper with more concentration, and the wines are better balanced, more intense and complex.

Our Wines

Grace Koshu

"Grace Koshu is our signature white wine. We let it rest on its lees for five months before bottling, which gives an extra dimension of richness, and which enables the preservation of its delicate aromas. The fine and delicate characteristics of the wine makes it the perfect match with all kinds of Japanese cuisine.

This is attested in various occasions in London in the past two years by the critical acclaims Grace Koshu received during wine events attended by well-known food and wine critics.

Grace Koshu is also referred to as a representative wine of Japan in the 5th edition of the “The World Atlas of Wine” co-authored by the veritable Hugh Johnson OBE and Jancis Robinson OBE, MW.

Robert Parker Jr. in the US, various Masters of Wines and Jamie Goode in the UK have shown enthusiastic appreciation of our wine, as well the Financial Times in the UK.

Through our effort of improving both the grape quality and winemaking, Grace Koshu Kayagatake 2010 finally succeeded in obtaining a Silver Medal in the Decanter World Wine Awards 2011 (DWWA2011), which is the first prize for Koshu in overseas competitions.

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Our Distributors

United Kingdom

Hallgarten Druitt & Novum Wines
http://www.hallgartendruitt.co.uk/

Australia

Quality Estate Distributors
http://www.qedwines.com.au/

Singapore

Singapore Straits Wine Company Pte. Ltd.
http://www.straitswine.com/

Sweden

The Wine Agency
http://www.thewineagency.se/

Netherlands

Phileas Fogg Wines
http://www.phileasfoggwines.nl/

France

Explorateur de Vins
http://www.explorateurdevins.com/grace-winery-japan.html

Hong Kong

Northeast Wine & Spirits Ltd.
http://northeast.com.hk/

Italy

VIA DELL' ABBONDANZA
http://www.viadellabbondanza.com

Belgium

Matthys Wijnimport nv
http://www.matthys-wines.be/

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Corporate Data

Chuo Budoshu Co., Ltd. (GRACE WINE)
173 Todoroki Katsunuma-cho, Koshu-Shi, Yamanashi, 409-1315 Japan
TEL (+81)553-44-1230
FAX (+81)553-44-0924
e-mail: info@grace-wine.com

Name of Owner: Shigekazu Misawa
Winemaker: Ayana Misawa
Vineyards: Owned: 14ha Under Contract: 10ha
Annual Production: 2,000hl
Grape Varieties: Whites: Koshu, Chardonnay / Reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdo

Katsunnuma Grace Winery(Chuo Budoshu Co., Ltd.)
173 Todoroki Katsunuma-cho, Koshu-Shi, Yamanashi, 409-1315 Japan
TEL (+81)553-44-1230

Akeno Misawa Vineyard/Misawa Winery
11984-1 Uede Akeno-cho, Hokutos-Shi, Yamanashi, 408-0204 Japan
TEL (+81)551-25-4485

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