Making Southern Hokkaido a winery spot, Training new grape farmers

Wine grapes for “Hakodate Wine”
“Southern Hokkaido Wine Academy” taking place at a field in Hokuto City

While grapes for making wine are starting to ripen in southern Hokkaido in September, efforts to transform the area into a wine production region are advancing. This year, the Hokkaido government started accumulating meteorological data such as temperatures and wind directions for grape fields in areas like Hokuto City in cooperation with research institutions. They are trying to train winegrowers and winemakers to cultivate grapes and make wine through the “Southern Hokkaido Wine Academy”, and that is contributing an increase in new farmers.
In southern Hokkaido, major producers are starting grape growing one-after-another. “Hakodate Wine” started growing grapes near their Nanae Town headquarters in 2018 and Sapporo Breweries (Tokyo) started in Hokuto City in 2019. In addition to Japanese producers, the Japanese branch of an old French winery started planting trees in Japan in 2019.
Spurred by this momentum, the Hokkaido government began collecting meteorological data this year at 23 places in Hokkaido, including the two locations of Hokuto City and Nanae Town, to help support the stable cultivation of high quality grapes.

In addition to the temperature and humidity, measurements include the amount of sunlight, soil temperature, and wind speed. The Hokkaido government plans to construct a database for this information and make it public on the Internet to producers.