Hello Members of the Tokyo Chapter,
Have you ever tasted Japanese wine? What about Nagano wine? If you haven’t tried it, now is the time to broaden your horizons. We have and it is really good!!
23 people, including alumni family members and friends, visited Hasumi Farm in Tomi city, Nagano on September 14th to sample local wines being produced by a fellow Temple Alum on a family farm. The owner of the winery, Nick Hasumi, is a 1995 graduate of Temple University’s main campus.
After graduating with B.A. in Media and Communications, Nick worked for Major League Baseball in the United States, often going out to dinner with players from the team to fine dinners that included a lot of wine. “The expensive vintage ones!” This inspired him to learn more about wine and to consider viticulture as a career. Soon he began travelling to multiple wine-producing countries, gaining insights about different varietals and styles of wine, honing his palate and learning production techniques. After returning to Japan he began working for a Japanese winery learning the basics of local production, and launched his own winery in 2005. Today, his farm and winery is located in the hills of Nagano, more than 500m above sea level. The elevation is cooler throughout the year, making it very good terroir for growing grapes.
The Tokyo Chapter visited Hasumi’s shop and café downtown in Ueda city first where we sampled and enjoyed the organic lunch plate on offer. The café faces “Fermentation Street” and although that may sound rather WEIRD to you, the name comes from the fact that most of the shops and restaurants on the street deal with fermented products, like Miso, Bread, and Sake. As most foods on the lunch plate we enjoyed used either fermented or locally harvested products, we felt cleansed from the inside and got healthy intestinal flora!!
After lunch we moved to his farm, about 20 minutes driving from the café. Nick and his staff gave us a brief explanation about his farm, what kind of grapes he grows and how to make wine. We listened to stories of his difficulties and troubles in the early stage, and the problems inherent in small scale operations. Because weather and nature is unpredictable, trouble happens all the time! Anyway, we tasted several bottles of his brand, some are fruity and some are dry and crisp. Even though we are not professional sommeliers, we could tell these were good wines and yet at a very affordable price! Hope you can enjoy Nagano wine too!
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(Text: Naomi Toda, CLA ’94)