Mr Kuheiji Kuno president of Kuheiji Sake and Domaine Kuheiji France

Being the world’s only brewery with two domaine, Kuheiji is a Japanese sake that is very popular not only in Japan but also in Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris, France.

The second is “DOMAINE KUHEIJI” is a wine brand that Kuheiji handles in Burgundy, France. Kuheiji’s aim is to, as they call it, create a “chemical reaction between sake and wine”. 

They believe that learning the philosophy, tradition, and techniques of wine will lead to a re-examination of sake and that mixing the two will lead to innovation.

Banjo Jozo Co., Ltd. is a sake vinification in Midori Ward, Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture, founded in 1647. Kuheiji is the 9th family head of the Kuno family whose family head is called “Kuheiji”. 

“I want to shed new light on sake in the 21st century.” 

“I want to put sake on a new stage.” It continues to attract attention not only in Japan but also overseas. Brands newly created by Banjo Jozo Co., Ltd. are “DOMAINE vinification”, a wine made in Burgundy, France, and “Kuno Kuheiji Honten”, a domaine-style sake. Kuheiji has become the only sake brewery in the world that can offer you sake, white wine, and red wine under the same philosophy.

“Both wine and sake share the same philosophy, and if they are fermented in a style that requires as little human intervention as possible, the same theme can be expressed in different categories of beverages. This is because both wine and sake are agricultural products. This is because it is a vinification liquor made from these ingredients, and the providence is the same,” says Kuheiji.

The style of “cultivating raw materials and brewing sake”, which is commonplace in the world of wine, is actually extremely rare in the sake industry. Rice for sake, grapes for wine. By thoroughly dealing with these raw materials and sticking to them, we express the individuality of the cepage, the characteristics of the terroir and the vintage.

“Like a chef presenting a full-course meal, the sake on the table that day was also created by a single enologist. We would like to propose a unified food pairing.” With this in mind, Kuheiji wine and sake Under the same philosophy, it is made with a focus on terroir = fields and fields.

Meanwhile, DOMAINE KUHEIJI is a winery founded in Morey Saint Denis in Burgundy. Instead of having a meal with just one sake, we would like to suggest the merits and possibilities of sake and wine while enjoying the compatibility of sake, white wine, and red wine with the food. That is the biggest reason Kuheiji decided to make wine.

In 2013, Kuheiji, who has inherited sake brewing, took on the challenge of making wine in France. Mr. Hirotaka Ito, who has been involved in sake vinification for 15 years at Manjo Jozo Co., Ltd.,  travelled to France as the manager of cultivation vinification. At that time, Ito felt that he was stuck in “creating new things with sake”, but he tried to break through the barriers of the industry and wanted to make sake better. In order to pursue the deliciousness of wine, we set out on the path of winemaking.

After moving to France, he started studying French and wine from zero, and in 2015 he acquired his own winery along the Grand Cru road in Morey Saint Denis village and released wine in 2016 as the first vintage. In the following year, 2017, we purchased 2.5ha of our own field and now produce wines including Grand Cru as domaine and negociant (wine merchant or wholesaler).

Kuheiji’s aim is “chemical reaction between sake and wine”. Sake and wine are the same vinification liquor, and although the raw materials are different, the fermentation mechanism is common. We believe that learning the philosophy, tradition, and techniques of wine will lead to a re-examination of sake, and that mixing the two will lead to innovation.

“Burgundy’s terroir, the difference in the vineyards, and the difference in the grapes, and the uniqueness of the wine are the same for rice fields and rice.The same personality Kuheiji makes with the same thought. I think we can express the individuality of the variety and terroir more clearly,” says Mr. Kuno.

DOMAINE KUHEIJI owns a 2.5ha field that spreads around Morey Saint Denis. Although it is not rated as high as AC Burgundy or Burgundy Aligoté, there are many old tree plots called Vieille Vigne that are over 40 years old, and the yield is 30hl/ha, which is the same as Grand Cru. The amount of fertilizer required for cultivation is kept to a minimum, and human intervention is kept to a minimum, such as using only a very small amount of SO2 for vinification.

When Mr. Ito went to France, he was struggling with how to establish his own style of wine. At that time, when he drank wine in Burgundy, he noticed that there was a difference between the general perception of “fruitiness” and his own perception, and established his own idea of fruitiness, fruitiness, and elegance. I thought that my style would be determined naturally. From there he pursued his research in cultivation, vinification and equipment.

Mr. Ito’s commitment to winemaking vinification at a low temperature. In order to express elegance, we pay special attention to the temperature and vinification slowly at a low temperature based on our experience in sake brewing.

Also, no pigeage (breaking up of thick layers of skins, stems and seeds) is done and remontage ( pump-over) is done to activate the yeast, not for extraction.

“The aroma and taste of both sake and wine are important, but more than that, the true value lies in the food, the closeness to the place, and the connection between people,” says DOMAINE KUHEIJI. A wine of elegance, vision.

“By drawing out the characteristics of Burgundy’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which have a soft, transparent fruit flavor, without compromising the character, it becomes a wine with gentleness, and it expresses humility, that is, elegance without unnecessary glamour. I can. In addition, based on the idea that “when people have a new experience with wine or feel a new breath in the glass, people are moved by reminiscent of the future.” he added.

Mr Kuheiji Kuno himself will be in Langkawi on January 25 for an exclusive sake and wine tasting session and will make another stopover in Kuala Lumpur.

Source – Kuheiji Brewery