- Around the center of Yoichi, on a small hill in Noboricho, Mr. Takahiko Soga started his small winery “Domaine Takahiko” in 2010. It was the second winery in Yoichi.
- In 2022, after the whole Chinese zodiac cycle, the number of wineries in Yoichi has increased to 15, making Yoichi the town with the most wineries in Japan. “The potential of Yoichi’s grapes is really high. I would say that it is one of the most outstanding grapes in Japan. That is why I decided to make wine in Yoichi, and it is inevitable that the number of wineries continues to increase,” says Mr. Soga.
- The cumulative temperature of Yoichi is almost the same as that of famous overseas wine regions such as Burgundy and Alsace. There is enough potential for producing good quality grapes. Mr. Soga compares winemaking in Yoichi to “Nozawana pickles”, a specialty of Nagano prefecture, where he is from.
- “When I was a child, Nozawana pickles were made by farmers who grew their own Nozawana and added their own flavoring. It was not something mass-produced by big companies. I believe the same is true for Yoichi wines. Yoichi’s grape farmers make their own wine, and Yoichi wines will take root from there. That is what I am aiming for, although we have just begun.” In 2020, the wines of Domaine Takahiko were listed on the wine list of Noma, a Danish restaurant known as the best restaurant in the world. This was the first time for a Japanese wine. In recent years, not only Mr. Soga’s wines but also those of Yoichi have drawn the attention from around the world.
- “Most wineries in Yoichi are run by families, and so is mine. To tell you the truth, we are unable to give our visitors a tour of the winery the way we would like to. We feel sorry about this, and in order to satisfy the people who come here for Yoichi wines, we are planning a system where our guests can taste our wines at the restaurants in Yoichi. This season, we are also trying to produce wines that are only available in Yoichi, using Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.”
- Yoichi is growing as a wine town. Now is the time to visit the wineries and witness the beginning of history.
What we are aiming for is not a global wine, but a wine that touches the heartstrings of Japanese people. Wines produced from a rich soil with a lot of rainfall have flavor, softness, and complexity. Most of the grapes planted in the fields of Domaine Takahiko are Pinot Noir, and they continue to make wines based on spontaneous fermentation, believing in the power of the grapes. The leading brand is “Nana-Tsu-Mori”, which is highly regarded in Japan and overseas. It goes well with Japanese food. Other brands include “Yoichi-Nobori”.
Rita Farm & Winery
Established in 2011. Ms. Yuriko Sugawara from Yoichi is in charge of the winemaking. Natural fermentation by wild yeast. Grapes include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc. Leading brands are “Cuve Rita” and “Kaze no Vineyard”.
Established in 2015, in southern slope under bright sunlight conditions of Nishikicho west-area, the winery seeks compatibility of their wine with foods and unique taste of the producing district, and makes such a various wine as red, white, rose and sparkling wines. The representative bottles include Notre Siècle.