I grew up in one of New Zealand’s big wine growing areas and in my childhood was surrounded by grapevines but to be honest never really acquired a taste for drinking wine. But when I was reporting on Funao Winery and being a lover of muscat grapes I did buy a bottle to see what it tasted like. To my surprise it was delicious and from time to time when entertaining people from outside Okayama will serve this wine.
Funao Winery is located in the hills of Funao Village which looks over the Takahashi River and the city of Kurashiki. The location itself is worth going to just for the view. As you sit you can imagine what old Kurashiki once looked like but with your immediate surroundings of rows of grapevines and the sweet smell of the glass of wine makes savoring this view even better.
The Winery was developed in collaboration with the local village people and local government. It is a local favorite, as well as with Japanese travelers discovering their countryside. International visitors will be somewhat of a novelty and you are sure to be given the red carpet treatment.
Alexander Muscat grapes are one of the products that Okayama is famous for. Funao village happens to be the largest grower of these grapes in Japan. Getting to the winery you will weave through the hills which are surrounded by grapevines.
The season for harvesting Muscat grapes is August to September each year but the winery is open all year to give you a real taste of this fruit.
The winery has a small cafe where you can taste the different varieties of wine by the glass. The wine comes in Sweet, Medium and Dry and the price for a bottle of wine ranges from 2100 yen to 3000 yen. You of course can buy bottles of wine to take home or send home via a delivery service.
How to get there: catch a train to Tamashima Station. From the station exit the back entrance (facing the hill) there you can catch a taxi to the winery. The taxi will cost about 1200 yen and takes about 10-15 minutes. This area has very little traffic. You can also try cycling there from Kurashiki Station, this would be a half day trip but you can slowly get to the winery via small shrines that are scattered around Funao Village. This way would require you to have a smart phone so you can use a navigation device.