Miyazaki gets pretty hot and wet as early as late April, and wine lovers might be excused for thinking you cannot produce decent wine in such a climate. Yet the Tsuno Winery is proof that you can, indeed, produce perfectly enjoyable wine here. Owned by the town of Tsuno, and on a hill overlooking the sea, it is one of several popular wineries in the prefecture and one that is quite accessible as it is not all that far from Miyazaki city. Unlike many of Miyazaki prefecture’s tourist spots that tend to be scattered among remote mountain hamlets, the winery is located close to the coast, and therefore relatively easy to access by public transportation. If you do have a car, being close to Miyazaki and Hyuga cities makes it relatively easy to find even if you are not confident in your map reading skills.
We stopped by the winery on the way to Bokusui Koen and were happy to discover that for 100 yen each, you could sample any of numerous varieties on offer both at the café as well as the wine shop. In fact, a few of the offerings are even free. We were particularly taken by a Syrah and a Pinot Noir, both from 2009. The only one who was not rewarded immediately was the wine-loving driver, who had to be content to wait to enjoy a bottle of Old Campbell Early 2006, a variety similar to the Concord grape, until dinner that evening.
Although we did not have time to enjoy the salads and sandwiches on offer at the Tsuno Farm Café located on the premises, they looked quite inviting and, yes, wine is on offer. If you are driving, be aware that you should only partake of the non-alcoholic beverages in the café, and definitely avoid the temptation of the wine tasting.
It is possible to request a free tour, if they are not super busy, and occasionally there is an English-speaking guide, so do ask. If you are visiting in late October, there is the Tsuno Wine Festival with lots of fun activities and free sampling. The winery is open from 9:30 to 17:00 all year round, with the café open from 11:00 until 16:00 every day but Tuesdays.
Japanese speakers can contact the tourist division of the Tsuno Chamber of Commerce for more information on the winery and other aspects of your travel itinerary (0983-25-5721), and of course you can inquire with the helpful multi-lingual travel information service at Miyazaki airport and Miyazaki station about finding transportation to the area, accommodation, etc. Trains from Miyazaki Airport to Tsuno station, from which you can get a taxi to the winery, take about 45 minutes. Alternatively, it is about 30 minutes to Tsuno from Hyuga-shi station. For drivers, the winery is about 20 minutes from the Takanabe interchange. For those unable to make the trip, you can also buy Tsuno-produced wines online if you or someone you know can navigate the Japanese language website.