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The fruit grown most widely across Hokkaido

Grapes are largely categorized into American varieties from the North American continent and European varieties from the Caucasus region between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. Ripened grapes are known for their extravagant scent and extremely sweet taste. Grapes contain large amounts of polyphenol, which is a functional substance that works as an antioxidant.
The Hokkaido government introduced grapes in 1873 and today they are the fruit grown most widely across Hokkaido with the largest cultivation area. The varieties of grapes grown here are wide ranging, as one single producing area could be growing more than 10 varieties in close proximity. Additionally, Hokkaido grows a large amount of wine grapes, so much so that the prefecture boasts the largest cultivation area of wine grapes in all of Japan.

Map

Grapes are grown across Hokkaido, but the main producing areas are Yoichi Town, Niki Town, and Urausu Town in the Shiribeshi and Sorachi regions.

 

■Map / Main producing municipalities
Yoichi Town, Niki Town, Urausu Town, Furano City, Otaru City, Sobetsu Town, Fukagawa City, Assabu Town, Mikasa City, Kyowa Town

Snow protects grape vines

Hokkaido-grown grapes are highly sweet and tart because of the cool climate they are grown in, which produces a clean and refreshing taste. During the harvest season in the fall many farms offer u-pick opportunities to attract tourists.
Grapes in Japan are cultivated using independent trellises. This is because there is more rainfall than in Europe or North America, which causes vines to grow too long and often intertwine, resulting in poor fruit production and more frequent occurrence of disease. Grape vines are placed horizontally to improve air flow and exposure to sunlight. Meanwhile, wine grapes are grown with espaliers instead of trellises. This makes it possible to quickly distinguish between the grapes being grown in each field, either wine grapes or those intended for eating. Vast grape fields extending across huge slopes is a beautiful sight seen in Hokkaido. Additionally, grapes grown on espaliers are buried in snow during the winter, which protects the vines from freezing in the bitter cold. In recent years, winery tours have become quite popular following the increase in the number of grape growers and wine producers.

Grape Family

  • Campbell Early
    Campbell Early is a grape variety for eating that has large black colored fruit. It is known for its strong scent and its refreshingly sweet and tart taste. This variety is particularly well known in Japan and it is often referred to fondly as the "black grape." Campbell Early grapes are harvested from the end of September to the beginning of October.
  • Niagara
    The fruit of Niagara grapes becomes yellowish green when ripe and it is known for its unique scent. These grapes are used for eating and also to produce wine. The harvest runs from the beginning to middle of October.
  • Portland
    Portland grapes are made solely for eating and produce a light yellowish green fruit. They are extremely sweet and juicy, and known for their strong scent. The harvest runs from the middle to end of September.
  • Buffalo
    Buffalo grapes are made solely for eating and have a unique purplish black color and egg shape. These grapes are highly sweet and offer a robust taste. The harvest runs from the beginning to middle of September.

Seasons

Grapes are best known as a taste of fall. The harvest runs from the end of August to the end of October.

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•Seasons

Processed Foods

Hokkaido produces various forms of red wine, white wine and rose and the quality of its wine has recently appeared on the radar of wine aficionados. Grapes are also made into juice, jam, jelly and other sweets, while grapes are also sold dried, too.
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