Kuheiji Kuno

2nd September, 2022

Our sake brewery was founded in 1647. Now, in the 21st century, we have decided to take up the challenge of making wine in France. Our goal is to create a chemistry between sake and wine.
We wish to transpose the specific brewing techniques of each beverage and thus achieve a unique blend of know-how. We hope that this freedom can lead to a renewal of our brewery. 
Throughout the year, the rice fields evolve, as does our know-how. Rain and shine are unpredictable but irreplaceable. 
The starting point is the desire to go beyond the straitjacket of techniques. In order to propose this new brewing philosophy and leave our comfort zone, we felt the need to cross borders by setting up in France. The blending of the two cultures will be a long-term task that will certainly require several generations. It is a perpetual challenge that must be achieved on both sides of the borders.  
While the fields and vineyards bequeath us their terroir and vintage, KUHEIJI listens to the land she works and tells with sincerity stories of brewing in France and Japan. We cannot forget the powerlessness of human beings, nor resist the rhythm and providence of nature. All we can do is look up to heaven and pray. Neither our philosophy nor our aesthetics can resist this awareness.  
Since I became a brewer, I have been encouraged to visit the fields, to get to know them. It was then that I became aware of the liveliness of what was growing, as a matter of course. It is only thanks to human encounters that I got to where I am today and I thank them for that. 
The aroma and flavour of sake and wine are important, but their true value comes when they accompany meals and create conviviality. To give people the pleasure of talking and drinking with others, alcoholic beverages must offer emotion. I hope to spice up these encounters with the originality of my avant-garde drinks. 
This work of connecting is, in a sense, creating a social infrastructure. I think it is my mission as a brewer, beyond the categories of sake and wine, to create emotional and stimulating sake that creates meeting places. To do this, I want to express the individuality of terroirs and grape varieties through wine and sake.  

DOMAINE KUHEIJI is a wine estate located in Morey St Denis, 17 km south of Dijon, in the heart of Burgundy. Burgundy wine is produced mainly along the Côte d'Or, a road that runs south from Dijon and is also known as the "route des grands crus". To the north are the parcels of the Côte de Nuits, including Morey St Denis. This is a small area between the famous vineyards of Gevrey-Chambertin and Chambolle-Musigny, with five grands crus.
DOMAINE KUHEIJI is owned by the Banjo brewery, maker of the Japanese KUHEIJI sake, served not only in Japan but also in palaces and three-star restaurants in Paris. Since 2013 when I acquired a small plot, I started to produce wine thanks to the collaboration of Hirotaka Ito, a faithful brewer of Kuheiji sake for fifteen years. Since 2017, we have 2.5 hectares and our estate registration. Our vineyards are located on east-facing slopes at an altitude of 220-270m, and the soil is a mixture of limestone and clay. More than 90% of the production is red wine. 
The dominant climate is continental throughout Burgundy. One of its characteristics is that it is changeable during the harvest season, which varies the attributes of the grapes from year to year. The wine is therefore specific to each vintage. Never has a terroir lived up to its name so well as in Burgundy.

-Winemaking and its challenges -
Founded in 1647 and heir to the sake tradition, why did Banjo Jozo decide to take up the great challenge of winemaking in the 21st century? Why did it go all the way to France? 
History has often shown that innovative discoveries are made by outsiders. It is not possible to innovate if we remain entrenched and stuck in one sector of activity. A mixture of knowledge and experience from different backgrounds brings new ways of thinking. 
The mechanism of fermentation is exactly the same for sake and wine. The brewer's job is to prepare the brewing environment by working backwards from the purpose of the sake he wants to create.
"I want the wine to be like this, so I want the barrel ageing to be like this, I want the wine to be like this at the end of the fermentation before the barrel ageing, so I want this temperature and this preparation." If the theme we want to express is the same, the brewing environment will inevitably be similar. When applied to wine and sake production, a synergy is created.
The beauty of brewing lies in the unpredictable. The evolution of the grape or rice in its transformation process gives rise to its individuality. Whatever styles or production methods are attempted, the result will vary according to the grape variety or the vintage. It is precisely because the winemaker's philosophy is common to all his production that the characteristics of the terroir can be clearly expressed.

- The miracle of fermentation -
Fermentation is carried out by micro-organisms that play the main role, but the stage must be set by humans. The brewery is like a stage, the micro-organisms are the actors. It is the winemaker's responsibility to set the stage for the actor to play the role that suits him. So it is not enough to have good grapes and good yeast. You need the right brewing environment to bring out the best in the ingredients.  

 - The possibilities of KUHEIJI -
We are the only brewery in the world that produces three food wines - sake, white wine and red wine. Our main objective is to allow the accompaniments to be varied with wine throughout the meal. Instead of drinking only one wine, we propose to enhance each dish with the specificities of a glass of sake, a glass of white wine or a glass of red wine. At the same time, you discover the qualities and potential of the drink. 
This is how we describe our brewing philosophy. To create a synergy between the food, the drink and the consumer thanks to the specificities of the terroirs. 

- History of DOMAINE KUHEIJI -
-2006- We start promotional campaigns and sake sales in France
-2013- Hirotaka Ito goes to France to try a brewery alchemy 
-2015- Acquisition of a winery in Morey Saint-Denis 
-2016- First vinification 
-2017- Acquisition of a 2.5 ha vineyard in Morey Saint-Denis 
-2018- First vintages, including Grands Crus, outside our vineyards

Original text

- DOMAINE KUHEIJI <ドメーヌ・クヘイジ> ―











DOMAINE KUHEIJIは、フランス・ブルゴーニュ地方の中心都市、ディジョンから南へ17㎞ほどのモレ・サン・ドニを拠点とするワイン醸造所です。ブルゴーニュワイン生産の中心は、コート・ドール(黄金の丘)と呼ばれるディジョンから南にのびるルートに沿った地域で、“グラン・クリュ街道”ともいわれています。そのルートの中ほどから北が、コート・ド・ニュイと名づけられ、モレ・サン・ドニはこのコート・ド・ニュイに位置しています。名産地ジュヴレ・シャンベルタンとシャンボール・ミュジニーにはさまれた小さなエリアながら、5つのグラン・クリュを持つ優れた土地柄です。

DOMAINE KUHEIJIは、国内はもとより、パリのパラスホテルや三ツ星レストランでも提供されている日本酒、「醸し人九平次」の造り手である萬乗醸造が手がけるドメーヌで、2013年にフランスでワイン造りをめざし第一歩を踏み出しました。その先頭に立ったのが、久野九平治と日本酒造りを15年間、共にした伊藤啓孝(いとうひろたか・1979年生)です。


そこはモレ・サン・ドニDOMAINE KUHEIJIが居を構えるモレ・サン・ドニは、ブルゴーニュ全域に見られる大陸性気候に支配されています。収穫期に天候が変わりやすいのもその特徴のひとつで、そのためにブドウの出来、延いてはワインの出来が年ごとに異なり、ヴィンテージによって個性が際立つワインが生まれる、まさに“テロワールのワイン”を産するエリアです。畑は標高220~270mの東向きの斜面に広がり、土壌は石灰岩と粘土で混成されていますが、その生産量の9割以上が赤となります。

ー ワイン造り その理由 ー










そのためには日本酒だけの一方的なアピールでは足りず、フランスの地で自らワインも手がけて初めて、 21世紀の醸造家となり得るのではないかと、このプロジェクトへの挑戦を決意しました。


ー 発酵というドラマ ー


ー KUHEIJIの可能性 ー















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Kuheiji Kuno