Five stars for fourth consecutive year for Domaine Takahiko in Yoichi
Domaine Takahiko (Yoichi) has been selected for the 4th consecutive year as a “5-Star winery”, the highest accolade of the ‘Japan Winery Award (sic) 2021’, which rates wineries and makers of high-quality wine throughout the whole of Japan. What’s more, the same region of Shiribeshi in central Hokkaido boasts three wineries that received a 4-star rating, ten that received a 3-star rating and two more that received the next best ‘connoisseurs’ award, increasing the presence of Shiribeshi’s wineries among Japan’s wine industry.
Organized by the Japan Winery Award Council, which is made up of wine critics, the awards have been held since 2018 and this year sees the 4th such event. A total of 258 wineries and vineyards throughout Japan that have grown vines for at least five years are judged on criteria such as product quality, individuality and cost performance. The announcement of the results and the awards ceremony was held in Tokyo on June 4.
A total of 15 wineries throughout Japan received a 5-star rating, which is awarded to wineries that “produce a number of brands of outstanding quality”. Of these, Domaine Takahiko and Yamazaki Winery (Mikasa) were the two selected from Hokkaido. Three Hokkaido wineries – Camel Farm, Hirakawa Winery (both in Yoichi) and Hokkaido Wine (Otaru) – received a 4-star rating, one more than last year. Ten locations received a 3-star rating (compared to seven last time), while the ‘connoisseurs’ rating was awarded to two locations in Hokkaido (compared to three last year). Also, six more Hokkaido wineries improved their rating on last year or received a rating for the first time.
“This is yet more proof that Yoichi grapes are superb,” said a delighted Soga Takahiko, representative of Domaine Takahiko, which has received a 5-star rating for four consecutive years. As Hokkaido’s grapes have greater potential than those from the grape producing region of Yamanashi, Soga believes “the distribution of power of Japanese wine will surely change.”
As Abe Masahisa, representative director of the NPO Corporation Wine Cluster Hokkaido (Otaru) explains, “The passion and stories of farmers that are new to Hokkaido wine are appealing to those who drink the wine. In particular, the climate and undulating terrain with which Shiribeshi is blessed is ideal for growing fruit, and cultivation skills are being accumulated.” With regard to Yoichi, Abe adds “wineries are gathering in the region, meaning that information can be exchanged directly and an environment is formed in which improvements can be made”.
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