Koshu is a white wine grape variety that has been grown primarily in Yamanashi Prefecture of Japan. It was developed from grapes that were brought from the Caucasus through the Silk Road, at a period estimated to be around a thousand years ago. It belongs to the same Vitis vinifera family as European grapes. The name “Koshu” is a former name for Yamanashi.
The distinctive characteristics of Koshu are a pale, straw colour and a soft, fruity bouquet with overtones of citrus and peach. The taste is clean, delicate and fresh, considered a superb match for Japanese cuisine.
In the late 19th century, the first proper winery was established in Yamanashi. After the second half of the 20th century, the wine production increased dramatically. There are now more than 80 wineries in Yamanashi Prefecture; they turn out about 40% of Japan’s domestic wine production, and Yamanashi has 95% of the Koshu plantings in the country.