New labeling standards “Japan Wine” become effective

TOKYO, Oct. 30 ― As more Japanese consumers enjoy drinking wine and producers make more wines in Japan, the government has introduced on Oct. 30 new labeling rules that enforces tighter place of origin control for Japanese wines.

Japan didn’t previously have regulations on the labeling of wine made from grapes, so makers of Japanese wineries had the industry’s voluntary wine labeling standards.

Specifically, when they produced and bottled wines in Japan but using imported grapes, they labeled them as “Wine produced in Japan,” which experts say is misleading consumers.

Following such criticism, the National Tax Agency developed labeling standards for manufacturing process and quality of wine in 2015.

The new standards allow to label as “Japan Wine” only when wine uses grapes harvested in Japan and bottled in Japan. And for a wine to be labeled as a wine with Japanese region’s name, at least 85 percent of the grapes must have been harvested in the region.

For example, “Tokyo Wine” has to be produced and bottled in Tokyo and at least 85 percent made from grapes harvested in Tokyo.

Under the new standards, wines produced in Japan but using imported grapes are not permitted to label the production region or varietal names.

In addition, it is now required to label details such as uses concentrated juice or blended with imported wine.

The new standards are expected to boost incomes for grape growers in Yamanashi prefecture, the country’s biggest wine producing region.

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