Mariko Winery, a new addition to one of Japan’s oldest winemaking companies, Château Mercian, offers panoramic views of vineyards and volcanoes from its upper terrace. From the inward perspective, visitors can observe the production room and cellar through windows, and rails running along the ceiling of the reception area feed new wine into the tanks by gravity. The grapes are separated according to variety and which of Mariko vineyards’ 16 plots they came from, and finally arrive at one of two cellars differing in temperature, to be optimally matured.
Mariko Winery, opened in 2019, is an exciting new venture from Château Mercian, which has roots in Japan’s first private wine company, Dai-Nihon Yamanashi Budoushu-Gaisha, founded in 1877. In addition to Mariko, the company owns two other sites in Katsunuma and Kikyogahara. The Mariko vineyards and winery are the newest additions and have already gained a reputation for producing vibrant, perky wines from French and native Japanese varieties, including white, rosé, and red wines.
The winery offers four types of tours, including a ‘Premium’ option, which takes visitors through the vineyards in-depth before heading into the winery, where every step of the winemaking process comes to life. The tour ends with a flight of six Château Mercian wines, including three from Mariko itself, at the Tasting Counter. Visitors can enjoy snacks made from local ingredients while taking in the scenery on the second-floor terrace, where a beautiful long-stalk holly tree provides a moment of Zen.
Château Mercian aims to reflect Japanese terroirs with purity and finesse, regardless of the wine type. Mariko’s 30 hectares are predominantly planted to French grape varieties, including Merlot, Chardonnay, and Syrah, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and Petit Verdot also grown. Indigenous varieties are grown at other Château Mercian sites. Visitors can purchase the company’s full selection of wines, including those made with the native Koshu grape.