Domaine Mie Ikeno
Considered one of the greatest winemakers in Japan, Mie Ikeno grows Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot in the highest elevations of Japan’s wine country of Yamanashi which she crafts into expressive wines of insistence and power.
For the first thirty odd years of her life Ikeno-san was a journalist and one of the most respected interviewers in Japanese magazines. After talking to countless creative people in depth about their passions she began to search for her own calling, and after spending an extended amount of time with friends in Burgundy tasting through their cellar every night she resolved to make wine. After graduating in 2005 from the University of Montpellier having studied oenology, viticulture and microbiology she spent two years working in Burgundy.
Returning to Japan in 2007 she found the ideal future site of her vineyard in an idyllic spot in Yamanashi, Japanese wine country, a former mulberry field with a panoramic view that encompasses the dramatic peaks of Yatsugatake to the north, Chichibu mountains to the east and Mt. Fuji to the south. The surrounding mountains keep the area dry during monsoon season. The field was turned over and gradually planted with vines in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and in 2011 she completed construction on a multi-story winery built into the side of the hill, allowing everything from harvest to pressing, fermentation and bottling to proceed on a gravity-flow system to reduce power usage.
The site is rich in volcanic soil topped with a layer of silty loam, and slopes that allowed for good drainage, important for a country with such a high amount of rainfall. Slopes face south and south-east, and at an elevation of 2500 feet is said to have the longest daylight hours in Japan. The vines are grown without the use of pesticides of chemical fertilizers, and she allows a diversity of plants to thrive in the vineyard, occasionally foraging for wild herbs and vegetables among the rows of T-shaped trellises.
A true passion project, Domaine Mie Ikeno produces just around 800 cases a year, divided between Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and gorgeously expressive Merlot. She released her first vintages to great acclaim in 2011, showing the potential of fine wine making in the Far East. We are beyond thrilled to be able to share a little of her craft and passion here in the US.