Bernard Magrez is to begin a joint venture with a leading Japanese wine maker, Yuji Aruga of Katsunuma Winery.

Aruga’s wines are currently served on Japanese Airlines flights in both first and business class, but the wine that he is making with Magrez will be sold outside of Japan, starting in the US and eventually in Europe.

The wine, as yet unnamed, will be distributed through Magrez’s own commercial network.

‘I was enormously impressed with the quality of Aruga’s wines when I first tasted them, and wanted to do something jointly with him,’ Magrez told decanter.com. Japan is a very important market for us, and if this helps us to raise our profile in the country, so much the better.’

The Katsunama Winery is located in Yamanashi Prefecture, about an hour outside of Tokyo. It is one of the few Japanese wineries to use grapes grown in its own vineyards to make its wines – and one of the few that grows grapes specifically for wine, rather than using unwanted table grapes.

Neighbouring Bordeaux winemaker and white wine consultant Denis Dubourdieu of Barsac’s Chateau Doisy-Daene is also involved in a winemaking project in Japan.

Magrez owns 35 wine properties around the world, and makes wine with actor Gerard Depardieu.

Written by Jane Anson