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Tochigi

Legend has it that grape-growing in Japan began in 718 CE, in Katsunuma, Yamanashi Prefecture. Wine may have been made from local grapes there, but the first documented case of wine consumption in Japan was in the 16th century, when the Jesuit missionaries arrived from Portugal. Saint Francis Xavier brought wines as gifts for the feudal lords of Kyu-shu-, and other missionaries continued the practice, resulting in locals acquiring taste for wine and importing it regularly.  However, the proactive adoption of western culture during the Meiji restoration in the late 1860s had to take place before regular production of local wine started. The first attempt to produce wine locally was undertaken in Yamanashi, in 1875.  During the first period, cultivation of American grape varieties formed the core of Japanese wine grapes, however they experienced a setback with a Phylloxera epidemic. Afterwards the demand for domestic Japanese wine decreased, but in every region some small amount of makers remained. It was not until after World War II during the process of the agricultural revolution when the scale of winemaking began to grow. However, in comparison to imported juices and bulk wine, domestic Japanese wine is still developing.


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