Japan's oldest winemaker readies for European grape onslaught

Mitsuhiro Anzo, chief winemaker of Mercian Corp., poses for a photograph at the Chateau Mercian winery in Katsunuma, Japan, on Sept. 7, 2018. Foto: Bloomberg photo by James Whitlow Delano.

With the removal of tariffs on European wines as soon as next year, Kirin Holdings Co.'s wine-making unit is betting on Japanese grapes to weather the onslaught.

Mercian Corp., Japan's biggest and oldest winemaker, is nearly doubling its vineyards on expectations that its niche grapes -- grown in a small area in the shadow of Mount Fuji -- will increase sales both at home and overseas. It's seeking to bolster market share ahead of the implementation of a trade agreement removing tariffs on European Union wines that are as high as 182 yen ($1.63) a liter...

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