Interview with Winemaker Mr. Hideo Kobayashi of Domaine Chaud
JAPANTWO(JP2):What got you into wine-making?
Winemaker Mr. Hideo Kobayashi (Mr. Kobayashi):I lived in Dubai from childhood until I reached high school. My parents would often go to different countries and have drinks. So I tried various drinks and enjoyed many of them, but my encounter with wine was the most memorable. Out of all the different types of alcohol I have tried, it was the only drink that made me wonder, "Where and how did someone make this?" when I drank it. So I took a year off from university in my Junior year and went to work at a winery in Australia for a year. There I saw how thay made wine and I got really into it.
JP2:Why did you choose to do it here in Niigata?
Mr. Kobayashi:One time, I happened to visit CAVE DOCCI winery and they had the sand and the beach that I loved. Plus, the wine here was really good; I felt like it was the best in Japan. The wine that I tasted at that time was something that I can enjoy the entire bottle. So I had a talk with the president and we got along and things got going from there and we decided to do it here.
JP2:What do you focus on when you make the wine?
Mr. Kobayashi:I focus on making wine that you can enjoy the entire bottle by yourself. That doesn't mean that we are going to drop the alcohol content. Even if we had a bottle of 7 % ethanol water, you wouldn't be able to drink it because it wouldn't have any taste. So then, how can you get someone to enjoy the entire bottle? It must smell nice, but it can't too pungent. It must also have a definite taste, the acidity needs to be balanced, and it needs to be something you don't get sick of, and... there are many other things to consider. In conclusion, we decided on wine that you can enjoy the entire bottle.
And working in an environment where I can decide the taste, I always keep that in mind for my wine to maintain the same quality. I always ask myself, "Can a person drink the entire bottle of this wine that I am about to make?" Then I go back and make my decision.
JP2:Currently, how much wine are you producing?
Mr. Kobayashi:We produce around 10,000 bottles annually. We make red, white, rose and sparkling wine.
JP2:How many grape variety are you cultivating?
Mr. Kobayashi:We have 7 types: Cabarnet Sauvignon, Cabarnet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz. Also, we buy a lot of grapes from contract farmers, so we have quite a variety of wine. In the future, we will have 30 - 40 % of our grapes coming from them.
JP2:Is purchasing grapes from contract farmers one of the things you have planned?
Mr. Kobayashi:Definitely. Even if you were a master sushi chef who pays fine attention to sushi, you wouldn't go out fishing by yourself. Rather, you would pick up quality fish at the Tsukiji market. In order to realize the wine that I want to make, I thought in reverse order; I started by thinking what kinds of grapes are ideal and from there I went back to the soil that the grapes were planted in. Then I thought that I needed to cultivate them by myself. But depending on the vector of wine, it's much better to get the famers to do it: for the lower cost and the higher quality. It's definitely better to make it collaborating with the farmers. And also, there are many farmers who are making excellent grapes, so I need communicate how the farmers are cultivating the grapes with love and sincerity.
JP2:Could you recommend a bottle of wine and how to enjoy it?
Mr. Kobayashi:I really enjoy having oysters with "Chardonnay Non Barrique." It's incredibly flavourful! And if you want to try the wine created from our soil I recommend "Mizu no aya."(means "Crest of Water." It is name of wine.) It's really unique wine and I've received comments like, "I've never had wine like Mizu no aya before!" Most likely, there aren't many wines in the same genre or on the same vector.
Address：〒953-0011 Niigata-shi, Nishikan-ku Kakudahama 1700-1
Open：Weekdays 11:00-17:00, Weekends and Holidays 10:00-17:00