24th January 2019

The Event in Social Media


The prestigious Institute of Masters of Wine gave the perfect backdrop to host this unique half day training course & tasting in JFOODO’s first ever Japanese Wine Academy. 

The Academy was created to give members of the wine trade a broad overview of Japanese wine history, context and relevance.

Swirl Wine Group designed, researched and created a structured presentation delivered by Sarah Abbott MW.   Each wine was chosen as example of a particular aspect of Japanese wine, such as the different prefectures, grape varieties, producer structure, and approach. This extended masterclass provided information on the history, terroir, grapes and wine producing regions of Japan.

The main topics covered were:

  • History and current overview of Japanese Wine
  • Demand for and interest in Japanese drinks, food and culture in the UK, and beyond
  • Grape varieties and wine styles of Japan
  • Prefectures and wine regions of Japan
  • Industry structure and key producers
  • How to describe and sell Japanese wine
  • Support available to help promote Japanese wine


Nine wines were selected to showcase the different grapes, winemaking styles and regions of Japan with technical details of each wine woven into the presentation.

Wines were selected to show the diversity, versatility and relevance of Japan, with a. range of styles (sparkling, white, skin contact, red). The range of grapes showed was chosen to include both Japanese specialties (Koshu and Muscat Bailey A), and international quality bearers (Chardonnay, Semillon, Merlot). Wines were chosen to illustrate the different types of companies making wine in Japan, from large wineries with the potential to build the market (such as Manns and Mercian), to family wineries of smaller production (such as Marafuji, and Lumiere). The different approaches to viticulture and vinfication in Japan, including sustainability and new viticultural developments were discussed during the presentation.

Arugabranca Brilhante Katsunuma JozoYamanashi
22017Sol Lucet Koshu KurambonYamanashi
32017Unfiltered Chardonnay Tsuno wineMiyazaki
42017Hitakihara (Semillon/Sauvignon)
Kusunoki wineryNagano
52017Rubaiyat Koshu, Barrel Aged Marafuji
62016Koshu Gris de GrisMercian Yamanashi
72017Prestige Class Orange KoshuLumiereYamanashi
82015Muscat Bailey A, BirthplaceIwanohara Niigata
92015Komoro MerlotMann’s Wine Nagano


An intimate group of influential sommeliers and independent wine merchants and on-trade sales people, as well as personnel from importers already distributing Japanese wines attended.


“I had a great time at the masterclass and found it really informative. 

Really enjoyed the orange wine from Mercian – elegant, pure and textural. Can’t wait to show it to people.”

Charlotte KingsleyLondon on trade sales

“The masterclass was really great – a fabulous introduction to Japan Wine!
Chateau Mercian Gris de Gris was the best wine of the day for me – I honestly think at the price point and with its quite easy-going character that it will do well in fine dining and wine-focused independent restaurants”

Jack WildLondon on-trade sales

“Thank you so much for inviting us to the Japanese masterclass last week. It was so interesting to explore a wine region that I know so little about and to taste a very unique style of wine. I was incredibly impressed with the Ch Mercian, and thought it sung above many of the other wines we tried. I really can’t wait for it to be available for us in our portfolio. I was also surprisingly moved by the Muscat Bailey A, which although unusual, grew on me more and more after each taste”

Daniel WhiskinLondon on-trade sales

“Thank you very much, really enjoyed it.”

Elena SerbanSommelier

“Surprisingly delicate, precise and elegant wine made in a very good way.”

Eva KrenovaSommelier