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Top grade grapes for the table are grown widely in Kyushu and are a staple fruit during the summer months. Grapes for viticulture, the production of wine, are, however, much rarer in the region. Nevertheless, at the Ajimu Budoshu Koubou, a boutique winery deep in the Usa countryside, the wines have been perfected since the fruit was first harvested here in the 1960s. The climate here is ideal for growing a variety of grapes, which are the basis of the 22 different types of wines bottled by the winery including chardonnay, sauvignon and merlot.
Surrounded by vineyards, the winery, its cellars, tasting bar, shop and café are set in an attractive and lush woodland garden. All its wines plus brandy and fortified wines, are available for tasting and sale including the Ajimu Sparkling Wine, which goes through a second fermentation in the bottle. Made by hand over an extended period of time, it has won the highest award in its division of the Japan Wine Competition several times. Grape juice is available for those who do not drink or are driving. Other delicacies including local meat products, cheeses and ice cream are available along with the wines for purchase. For those still with the legs, a path in the grounds leads to a hilltop from where views open up over the surrounding vineyards and the countryside of Ajimu beyond.
At a glance
Oita's first winery and a must visit for anyone wanting aquaint themselves with Japanese wines from the grape.