Zenbei Kawakami, the founder of Iwanohara Vineyard,
resolved to contribute to the local area and society as a whole through grape cultivation and winemaking.
His aspirations are carried on by those who work at Iwanohara Vineyard more than 125 years later.
The story of Zenbei Kawakami who devoted his life to the development of Japanese wine, and Iwanohara Vineyard, the home of Muscat Bailey A.
Zenbei Kawakami, the father of Japanese wine grapes
Zenbei Kawakami, the man who took on the challenge of
winemaking in a land of heavy snow.
Known as “the father of Japanese wine grapes”, Zenbei Kawakami, the founder of the Iwanohara Vineyard, constantly thought about the development of the local area and opened Iwanohara Vineyard in 1890. After that, he continued to pursue authentic viticulture, engaging in variety improvement by seeking grapes suitable for the local climate and conducting selective crossings of various species. From crossing 10,311 times, he brought 22 high-quality varieties to the world, including “Muscat Bailey A.” Since then, this grape has gained international recognition and its wine enjoyed by many wine connoisseurs today.
The History of the Vineyard
From rocky terrain to wine country.
The Iwanohara Vineyard is located in the Echigo Kubiki Plain, where the Myoko mountain range gently reaches the Sea of Japan. It is also a part of Niigata Prefecture’s Joetsu City, an old castle town which prospered long ago. This vineyard began in 1890 when the founder, Zenbei Kawakami, put a hoe to his garden. For over 125 years, the Iwanohara Vineyard has carried on Zenbei’s passion for grapes and wine and devoted its efforts to creating high quality Japanese wine.
Introducing the miraculous wine grapes selected from the numerous hybrids passionately researched and crossed by Zenbei Kawakami, the founder of the Iwanohara Vineyard.
Muscat Bailey A
Zenbei’s signature red wines of Japan.
In 1927, “Bailey ♀” and “Muscat Hamburg ♂” were crossed and nurtured. Zenbei Kawakami distributed the seedlings, which were disease-resistant with high-yield potential, to vineyards throughout the country. As a result, it currently yields the best red wine grape varieties, enabling wineries to produce their own characteristic red wines. In 2013, this variety was registered at the OIV (International Organization of Vine and Wine).
Black Queen brings out the rich color and aroma of deep black grapes.
“Bailey ♀” was crossed with “Golden Queen ♂” and cultivated in 1927. This variety is dark black with a soft pulp and thick skin. When made into wine, the taste is characteristically acidic and full-bodied with a deep color and scent.
Bailey Alicante A
“Grapes that enhance the redness and beauty of wine.”
“Bailey ♀” and “Alicante Bouschet ♂” were crossed and cultivated in 1923, yielding a grape with a thin, durable, dark black pericarp and a red pulp.
New varieties of white wine were produced through Zenbei’s challenging spirit.
In 1927, Rose Ciotat was created from crossing and cultivating “Bailey ♀” with “Chasselas Ciotat ♂.” The grape vine is reddish brown and the pericarp is light yellow. The taste is pleasing with a slightly acidic flavor, like that of a green apple. As wine, it is characterized by a faint green color.
“Hybrid No.6421”.Tropical fruit flavor nurtured in the Hokuriku region.
In 1929, varieties were made by crossing “Unidentified No. 1♀” with “Millennium ♂.”
The pulp is a transparent, pale crimson. It features a tropical fruit scent and moderate acidity.
Iwanohara wine encompasses the breeze of the Sea of Japan and the memories of rocky terrain. Introduced here are the signature wines made exclusively from selected Iwanohara grapes.
Iwanohara Vineyard’s premium wines are made from 100% Iwanohara wine grapes
designed by its founder, Zenbei Kawakami.
What are Premium Iwanohara
Premium wines from Iwanohara Vineyard are made from the best wine grapes of the year.
“The grape varieties, born of founder Zenbei Kawakami’s endeavors and home-grown at the Iwanohara vineyards, are used. Harvested, sorted, brewed, and aged with care, these wines best express the terroir* of Iwanohara Vineyard.
*Terroir is etymologically derived from the French word for land, terre. The word refers to the environmental conditions, such as soil and climate, in which grapes are grown.
*Red wine made from homegrown grapes is produced in the best conditions suited for aging, bringing out a tasteful richness in the wine.
A flagship wine exhibiting the heritage and character of winemaking at Iwanohara Vineyard.
This wine features deep and complex flavors. Without diminishing the character of the variety, this is a wine with natural strength.
*Muscat Bailey A and Black Queen are used.
Muscat Bailey A
The flagship wine of Iwanohara Vineyard is the pure essence of Zenbei’s vision.
Fostering an intense, delicate flavor and gentle texture, this wine best expresses the ”qualities of variety and terrain.”
This wine has a glamorous hue and strong, full-bodied quality.
A fusion of elongated acidity and rich tannins. It is an exquisite red wine that delightfully balances taste with scale, the fruity aroma, and the fragrance from the barrel.
A sweet wine with a gorgeous fruity aroma.
The concentrated sweetness of the grapes orchestrates a moment of bliss.
A dry white wine with an imperious coolness, symbolic of its snow country origin.
This is a dry white wine that with a refreshing fragrance and acidity particular to this variety.
Made from secondary fermentation, a method used in champagne-making, this is Iwanohara’s very own sparkling wine.
Blanc de Blanc Rose Ciotat
A sparkling wine characterized by a sophisticated citrusy fragrance and refreshing acidity.
Rosé Muscat Bailey A
A faint sweet scent, fresh acidity, and delicate bubble formation are attributes of this wine.
The source of beauty lies in the mastery of skills based on a full knowledge of
the Iwanohara Vineyard varieties.
What is Miyukibana?
A lovely red flower shyly standing in the snow.
Miyukibana (deep snow flower) takes its name from the Snow Camellia, a lovely red flower that blooms in the snowy Joetsu City of Niigata Prefecture.
Fascination with Miyukibana
Floral flavor design is based on
the individual concept.
- An exquisite compatibility produced by Muscat Bailey A and barrel aging.
- The Fusion of Chardonnay and Rose Ciotat creates the unique Iwanohara Vineyard harmony.
- A fresh, light flavor brought forth by Muscat Bailey A.
Zen is a wine named after Zenbei Kawakami, the father of Japanese wine grapes. A delicate and
sophisticated wine, it is made only from grapes envisioned by Zenbei to match the climate of Japan.
What is Zen?
This wine embodies Zenbei’s aspiration to have myriads of people enjoy Iwanohara wine.
“Zen, a standard wine of the Iwanohara Vineyard, offers an enjoyable fruit flavor that harnesses all the grapevine characteristics the Japanese terrain and climate has fostered.”
Fascination with Zen
Easy to drink, well-balanced, and easy to select.
- This red offers Muscat Bailey A’s gorgeous scent and rich fruit flavor.
- The elegant and gentle fragrance, as well as a clean, refreshing, dry quality is offered by this wine.
- With the aroma of luscious fruit, this rosé has an elegant and refreshing taste.
Open Hours 9:30-16:30
*Time in Visiting and Tasting 9:30-16:00
Close Every Sundays of January and February, Year-End and New Year period, Particular dates of March.
*Iwanohara wine is currently only available for sale in Japan.