Winery near Tokyo Offers Japan Wine with Variety Kept Secret for Half Year

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Takeru Kokubo holds his winery’s recent release called x at Funabashi Coq Winery in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture.

FUNABASHI, Chiba — A winery not far from Tokyo has been offering customers some mysterious products this year.

Funabashi Coq Winery has released three new wines this year, including x, a wine in which the grape variety is kept secret. The single variety used in the wine is announced six months after release.

The winery is aiming to make wine more easily accessible so more people can enjoy it. It also asks for guesses to be made on social media of the grape variety used in x.

Takeru Kokubo opened the winery in 2021 in a residential area of Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, about a 15-minute walk from Funabashi Station. He runs a restaurant and has written books on wine.

“I want to sell freshness,” he said, adding that he uses domestic grapes without filtration for a rustic quality.

His winery has been increasing its fan base as a kind of hometown wine through the holding of tasting events with area residents.

The three types of wine were released on Nov. 25. The x wine is a single-varietal wine of Japan made from grapes grown in the Tohoku region. It has a clean, dry taste, characterized by a full citrus aroma and acidity.

The grape variety used in x will be announced on May 7, 2024. Of the people who guess right, three of them will be selected by lottery to receive special goods.

“I want people to taste it without preconceptions about the variety,” Kokubo said. “It also provides an opportunity to interact between customers and stores that serve it.”

The other two recent releases are a white wine made from 100% Yamagata-grown Delaware grapes and an orange wine made from the same grapes macerated with the skins and seeds. The wines are sold at the winery, which is open on an irregular schedule, and are also available by mail order.

The winery plans to release eight types of wine through March 2024.

“We are very proud of them,” Kokubo said. “We hope people will try them.”