Château Mercian Mariko Winery
Ethos: Understanding the wines of the world in order to develop the particular characteristics of Japanese wine.
Vibrant, perky wines from French and native Japanese varieties (white, rosé and red).
Château Mercian has set itself the goal of putting Japan on the global map of wine and the Mariko Winery is its most recent addition to its family of wineries. Located in Nagano Prefecture close to the city of Ueda, the vineyard was established in 2003 and its new winery was completed in 2019. The vineyard itself is named after Mariko no Miko, the son of a Japanese emperor in the 6th century.
The vineyard spans 16 plots planted with eight international varieties, both red and white, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc. After harvest the wines are taken to the top-of-the-range winery. Here each variety can be vinified individually and even subdivided further by area and cultivation to ensure that the unique characteristics of each grape and plot are properly realised. The entire winery is gravity fed which allows for the smoothest transition of both grapes and wine on each stage of their journey. The winery's two barrel rooms, each naturally maintained at different temperatures, then guarantee that the wines mature in the perfect conditions.
Tours of Mariko will take you through the vineyard and then into the winery, covering the estate's approach in depth. The tour concludes with a selection of the estate's wines, either at the bar or in the tasting room overlooking both the vineyards and the winemaking facilities. But there are more than just tours on offer. Guests are welcome to enjoy a moment of peace and tranquillity in Ippongi Park. Located on a hill overlooking the winery, a bench in the shade of a large cherry tree is the perfect place to admire the vineyards. Likewise, the second-floor terrace offers wonderful views of the nearby volcanos Mount Tateshina and Mount Asma; all the better when viewed with a glass of wine in hand alongside a selection of snacks made from local ingredients.