top of page

Our Mission

Our Mission

The cultivation environment that is commonplace in France and the United States is also in Japan


Representative Director  Miyuki Katori

(Shinshu University Specially Appointed Professor / Wine & Food Journalist)


   In the 1950s, a number of wine grape vines in France and the United States were afflicted with viruses, resulting in reduced productivity and quality. In the United States, growers were particularly troubled by the fact that even the variety and origin of the seedlings themselves were inaccurate. Seeing the plight of these growers, phytopathologists and other researchers, as well as national and university research institutes, began to take action. Efforts began to visit vineyards around the country, collect grape branches, identify varieties, and even register them as virus-free. Thus, cloning of grape seedlings became certified in France and the United States. The first clones were certified in France in 1971, almost half a century ago. Today, the planting of a variety of clones in a single vineyard is the norm in wine-growing regions around the world, both to improve wine quality and to spread risk at harvest time.

   How about Japan?

   Only a few Japanese nurseries are able to order by clone, and furthermore, the variety of clones they can offer per variety is extremely small or none at all compared to overseas. Over the years, I have personally visited vineyards, wineries, and vineyards throughout Japan. In many vineyards, it was frequently the case that they did not know the clones of the varieties they were growing. On the contrary, we have seen orders for Pinot Noir, the black grape known in Burgundy wines, only to find that when the grapes ripened, they produced clusters of white grapes.

   It is said that the taste of wine is determined by the grapes, so what to plant is an important question. Also, considering climate change, it is very important to have a diverse archive of varieties and clones. In short, we believe that having a clean and diverse clonal and varietal archive is fundamental to the Japanese wine industry. The Japan Winegrape Growers Association aims to establish a system to import and provide a variety of virus-free varieties and clones. At the same time, we will support not only winegrowers throughout Japan but also all wine grape growers by sharing our knowledge of grape pests and diseases and the characteristics of grape varieties and clones.

The last spring of 2019 Heisei


Miyuki Katori

Graduated from the Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education, University of Tokyo. He is the author of many books on wine, including "Japan Wine Guide: Pure Domestic Wineries and Their Producers. He has interviewed wine producers and wine grape growers throughout Japan and has given many lectures on wine, food, and agriculture. He is also a member of the National Tax Commission, a certified regional development advisor for the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, and a member of the Chikumagawa Wine Academy Steering Committee.

To establish unique cultivation techniques suited to the Japanese environment

Bruce Gutlove, Executive Director

(Brewer / President of 10R Winery, Director of Coco Farm Winery)   

   Thirty years have passed since I began making wine in Japan. Although it is only a blink of an eye in terms of the history of wine in the world, the Japanese wine industry has undergone significant changes during this time. Quality and consumer awareness have increased significantly, and new wine regions are emerging every year. Nevertheless, Japanese wine still has a long way to go. A more active and integrated approach than ever before is needed to deal with the "mysteries" that keep popping up with wine grape cultivation in the land of Japan.


 The first attempt to produce quality wine in Japan was to faithfully reproduce European viticultural techniques. However, the results were disappointing. This is because winemaking, or agriculture, is closely related to the land. It is not possible to imitate the methods of Burgundy or Bordeaux in isolation from their soil and climate. From snowy Hokkaido to subtropical Kyushu, Japan's climate is very diverse, and its soils are quite different from those of many other wine-producing countries. Our vineyards are constantly threatened by pests and diseases unique to Japan. 


 In recent years, the need to establish a unique Japanese wine grape cultivation method has been recognized. Currently, however, there is little room for clones, rootstocks, or rare cultivars when trying to find the right grapes for the land. In addition, the presence of virus-infected vines in the vineyards is having a serious negative impact on quality and economic viability. There is a lack of cooperation between growers throughout Japan and wine institutes and researchers at home and abroad. The Japanese wine industry is still in its infancy, and the production of higher quality grapes requires the integration of old and new, i.e., traditional methods rooted in different regions of Japan and cutting-edge viticultural research.


 The JVA seeks to connect the various drivers of change and make them available to all Japanese winegrowers. Japan's viticultural community is full of passionate and talented people, and we hope that the JVA will be the place where the future of Japanese wine is illuminated.  


Bruce Gutlove

Born in 1961 in New York City.

In 1989, he was invited to Japan by Coco Farm Winery in Ashikaga City, Tochigi Prefecture, where he became the head winemaker. In 2009, he moved to Iwamizawa City, Hokkaido, and established "10R" in 2012. In addition to pursuing his own winemaking, he also works to mentor and train the next generation of producers as a contract winery that is also available to local grape growers.

Guidelines for the future of Japanese wine

Special Advisor Mizuho Kakuta
(Ph.D. in Plant Pathology / Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech)

 Healthy grapes are necessary to make good wine. Like humans, wine grapes are susceptible to disease caused by pathogens such as mold, bacteria, and viruses, but French grape varieties such as Chardonnay, which you are familiar with, have low resistance and require sensitive management. Considering the environment, pesticides cannot be sprayed indiscriminately and, like human diseases, some bacteria are resistant to medicines, so it is necessary to be familiar with diseases and pesticides. Considering Japan's unique climate and the future impact of global warming, it is also important to be flexible in the selection of varieties and cultivation methods, without being bound by existing practices. 


 For example, in the U.S., delicious wines made from disease-resistant and cold-tolerant varieties that are a cross between French and other varieties are being produced, but they are not yet well known in Japan. There are clean seedlings produced under a strict check system to deal with viral diseases that cannot be cured once contracted, but unfortunately they are not distributed in Japan.


 It is clear that the demand for grapes produced in Japan will increase more than ever due to the new rules of Japanese wine, and JVA's basic philosophy is to improve quality and increase yields based on environmental, economic, and social sustainability (sustainability), and for this reason it is important to understand the current state of wine grape cultivation in Japan. We believe it is important to understand the current state of wine grape cultivation in Japan. We hope to be an organization that can create guidelines for the future of the Japanese wine industry by bringing together the previously disparate experiences of individual growers and the research of universities and various research institutions to create tools for aptitude cultivation, comprehensive pest and disease management, and the introduction of new varieties.


Mizuho Nita

Ph.D in grape pathology from Ohio State University in 2005, he became a Technical Extension Specialist in Grape Pathology at the Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Virginia Tech in 2009 and an Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech since 2012. He has been an Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech since 2012. His research focuses on plant pathology with a particular interest in wine grapes. He hopes to apply his experience and knowledge from Virginia, which is relatively close to Japan, to JVA. He is also working on pathology research in Japan as a specially-appointed associate professor at Shinshu University.

bottom of page