Yamanashi Prefecture is the main region for winemaking in Japan which accounts for 40% of domestic production.
Domestic wine production using locally produced grapes began during the Meiji restoration in the second half of the 19th century. Japanese wines produced using only 100% domestic grape sell at premium prices. Those wineries gaining a good reputation for producing better quality wines include Marufuji, Kizan, Katsunuma, Jozo, Grace in Yamanashi Prefecture.
Koshu is a white wine grape variety grown primarily in Yamanashi. The grape is a hybrid variety indigenous to Japan, and benefits from a relatively thick skin able to withstand the humidity of the Japanese summer.
Characteristics of wines made from the Koshu grape are typically a pale, straw colour and a soft, fruity bouquet which goes very well with Japanese cuisine.
Muscat Bailey-A is a red wine grape hybrid developed by Kawakami who wanted to develop a grape for wine adaped to Japan’s climate characteristics.