Yamasachi grape is the latest indigenous Japanese grape varietal approved by OIV (Pic: Mari Yasuda)

OIV has approved and recognized a new grape varietal called Yamasachi, the third indigenous Japanese grape to be recognized by the association.

“Yamasachi”, a red grape variety produced by Ikeda-cho (Ikeda Town) in Hokkaido, will be registered in the list of vine varieties of OIV (The International Organisation of Vine and Wine). This is the third Japanese variety registered at OIV following Koshu in 2010 and Muscat Bailey A in 2013.

National Research Institute of Brewing, which had applied for the registration on behalf of Ikeda-cho, announced in a press release in late November that the application of registration of “Yamasachi” was accepted by OIV. 

Yamasachigrape grown in the vineyard of Chiyoda, Ikeda-cho of Hokkaido, the northernmost prefecture in Japan (Pic: Tokachi Wine)

“Yamasachi“ will be listed in OIV’s “International List of Vine Varieties and Their Synonyms” and “Description of Grape Varieties Throughout the World” of the 2021 edition.

Furthermore, thanks to this registration, it becomes possible to show the name of the grape variety “Yamasachi” on the label of wines which will be exported to the EU countries.

“Yamasachi“ was created in 1978 by Ikeda-cho from “Kiyomi” and a wild berry. Kiyomi is a clonal selection of the French hybrid Seibel 13053. “Yamasachi“ shows an improved cold resistance and freeze tolerance, which can withstand Hokkaido’s freezing winter cold. “Yamasachi” was vinified for the first time in 1995 and the first wine was commercialized in 1999.

Ikeda-cho, located in the east part of Hokkaido, was badly damaged by an earthquake and cold weather in mid-1950s. The mayor at that time, the late Mr. Kaneyasu Marutani, proposed the town to introduce grape growing. In 1963, Tokachi wine, managed by Ikeda-cho, was born. It was the first municipally managed winery in Japan. Ikeda Town Grape and Wine Research Institute in Tokachi wine has continued to develop grape varieties which can adapt to the very cool climate conditions of this place. “Yamasachi” or “Kiyomi” is one of the examples of their development.

The mayor of Ikeda-cho, Yoshihiro Yasui, said in the press conference that the local government and vintners will further improve the quality of “Yamasachi” wines and stimulate the awareness of this variety in both domestic and export markets.

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