Koshu is native to Japan, although its DNA originated in Europe.
Today it is recognised by the OIV as an official winemaking variety.
Many improvements in viticulture and winemaking have resulted in success in international wine competitions,
illustrating Koshu's potential on the global wine stage.
Koshu is Japan's most important indigenous grape variety. Approximately one thousand years ago,
it travelled svia the Silk Road from the Caucasus, across Central Asia, then on to China and finally to Japan.
Koshu is grown primarily in the Prefecture of Yamanashi where climatic extremes of hot and cold days provide a long growing season.
The distinctively volcanic and well-drained soils are ideal for grape growing.
History records that winemaking in Japan was started in 1874 in Yamanashi's Kofu City.
The Dainippon Company, founded in 1877, sent two young winemakers to France to learn winemaking skills.
They returned full of enthusiasm and knowledge and so began the production of wine,
using international grape varieties and Koshu to make a range of different wine styles.
There have been significant improvements in quality especially over the last ten years and today there are 80 wineries in Yamanashi.
Traditionally, Koshu has been planted using the pergola trellising method,
partly to protect the bunches during periods of summer rainfall. In more recent years,
there have been experiments with vertical shoot positioning which are very promising.
Long cordon pruning has also been tried as an alternative to the traditional Japanese pruning technique.
Significant advances have been made in limiting yields and focusing on canopy management.
International expertise has resulted in marked improvements in quality.
Today the versatile Koshu produces a wide range of still and sparkling wines, from bone dry to sweet
Koshu berries form long distinctively pinkish grey clusters.
They are thick-skinned making them fairly resistant to disease.
The grape belongs to the European Vitis vinifera family.
The aromatics are delicate, with notes of Japanese citrus and savoury, minerally flavours.
The wines are delicate, restrained and low in alcohol and their clean, racy acidity results in a crisp and polished finish.
Koshu is very pale in colour, with delicate aromas of citrus and white peach.
The combination of low alcohol and crisp acidity results in wines that are delicate and subtle,
making them an obvious choice for subtly flavoured dishes.
They make the perfect pairing for Japanese cuisine, but also for any Asian or western cuisine,
which is inspired by fresh seafood, light meats and vegetables.
They have a linear Zen-like quality which is all about balance.