Four wineries around Sapporo have been gaining attention. The winery at Bankei Pass started production in 2001 as Sapporo's first winery. Sapporo Fujino Winery runs "park golf" courses and a restaurant. (Park golf was invented in Hokkaido and uses balls and clubs larger than those of traditional golf.) Chitose Winery produces a unique wine from the sweetberry honeysuckle of Chitose. Hakkenzan Winery opened at the southern foot of a famous mountain in 2011. The production quantity is small at each of these wineries, and they proudly pour their spirit into each bottle. Why not enjoy these wines with some cheese made from fresh local milk?
Wineries were launched around Sapporo in the first decade of the 21st century It's often thought that the history of wine production in Sapporo is very short. Few know that Sapporo actually had a winery way back in the Meiji era. The Hokkaido Development Office opened a winery in the suburbs of Sapporo to cultivate vines from American seeds in 1873. Three years later, Sapporo Winery was established on the premises of Kaitaku-shi Brewery for commercial production. Although the winery closed in 1913, great efforts were made until then, such as trying to cultivate vines from French and German seed stocks and devising vats and cellars suitable for wine. The recently vigorous wine production around Sapporo is rooted in those days.
A one-minute walk from JR Sapporo Sta. brings you to Hotel Gracery Sapporo, where you'll find Hokkaido Wine ＆ Cheese Street Salon on the seventh floor. Taste wine from wineries around Hokkaido. Around 60 wines are always cellared (250 yen for a taste; 500 yen for a glass). Hokkaido-made cheese can be had on the side for 250 yen. Wines produced by Sapporo Fujino Winery, Hakkenzan Winery and Chitose Winery are sometimes on offer. Some wines are also available at the Daimaru Sapporo, Sapporo Tokyu, Sapporo Marui, Sapporo Mitsukoshi and Lafiler department stores, and at Grand Vin Cellar.
Source: Sapporo Bunko
The winery stands at a place where you can look up at the famous Mt. Hakkenzan. The winery's red building impressively matches the landscape. It started producing wine in 2011, holding to natural practices, as expressed in the mottoes "Wine is made in the field" and "Grapes yearn to be wine." The vintners study methods of processing local fruit under the local climatic conditions. In addition to wine, there's also the production of ciders and fruit jams. You can see the vineyard and the wine-making process. (Lower photo: The Sapporo wine Kanonz Merlot 2014; 720ml, 2,800 yen tax inclusive)
They tried to find varieties and cultivation methods suitable for the land and weather from the spring of 2000. It took them about a decade to successfully grow many varietals. The year 2009 saw the first production. Quality grapes are cultivated at their vineyards and at those of contracted farmers. Each grape is chosen with care. The grapes ferment without the addition of extra yeast. Additives are used very sparingly. Producing wine naturally is the principle of their wine-making. They run a restaurant called "Vigne," where you can enjoy pasta and pizza as well as wine. They also own an English garden and "park golf" courses. Strolls of these are recommended. (Lower photo: The Fujino series (from 1,600 yen). For easy enjoyment, the wine is light and is made from table grapes.
Despite the address in the Chuo (central) Ward of Sapporo, the winery is deep in the mountains, on a hillside at Bankei Pass. They've been making wine since 2001. They produce grape wines, hard cider and wines of other fruits. They never use any artificial antioxidizing agents or other additives during production. These hand-crafted wines showcase the splendor of yeast. They believe in the power of fermentation and of trying to make the most of the natural blessings of Bankei Pass. The terraced café Toge-no-chaya (café at the pass) is open on the last weekend (Sat. and Sun.) of each month. Taste and enjoy wine with handmade cakes, bread and cheese.
Established in 1988 as the second plant of Chuo Wine, the winery became independent in 2011. It produces wine using sweetberry honeysuckle, a specialty fruit in Chitose. Kita Wine, which has taken a prize at a domestic wine competition, is also produced here. A ten-minute walk from JR Chitose Sta. brings you to this winery in a stately stone building. Tour the building and enjoy tasting and shopping. (Lower photo: Sweetberry honeysuckle wine (1,365 yen). Five varieties are available. Each is popular for its rich flavor.)
A direct-sales shop located amidst pastoral scenery. Don't miss the Machimura Farm Special Cheesecake, the Machimura donuts and the regular soft-serve ice cream and bottled milk. Space for eating is available.
This product is distinguished by the unique aroma of its white mold. Aging deepens the flavor and aroma.
This small factory produces cheese from about 200 liters of milk in spare moments between farm work. The milk is produced with cheese in mind. They aim to make cheese that's good for health.
This semi-hard cheese is a type of Gouda. The aging period varies from 6 months to 24 months, which offers you a taste to your liking. Raclette lunch: \2500 (by reservation, limited to one pair each weekday)
Smooth mozzarella is made from milk collected every morning. Enjoy pasta and pizza that are generously endowed with cheese. The cheese goes well with homegrown vegetables.
This cheese is tasty when cooked, but it's particularly silky and flavorful when served raw.
Snow Brand has been producing and selling cheese since 1933. It's popular among people in Hokkaido. The Hokkaido 6P Cheese series has been popular since its debut in 1954.
For sale here
Three flavors unique to Hokkaido: scallop, "soup curry" and corn
Their primary product is a series of cheeses under the original brand name of Kobayashi Ranch Story. They pursue a natural cycle that involves soil, grass and cattle. The cheese is produced from the milk of healthy cows raised without stress.
For sale here
The Handmade Blue Cheese and Handmade Camembert have won awards for excellence at the All-Japan Natural Cheese Contest.