Legal protection of the vitivinicultural terroirs in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan

This study analyses the actual situation regarding the legal protection of the vitivinicultural terroirs in Yamanashi Prefecture, the centre of Japanese wine industry with more than 150 years of wine-making tradition. Wines produced with grapes harvested in Yamanashi are identified by its sub-region, village and parcel. Such practice of geographical identification allows the development of regional perceptions and differentiation of terroirs. However, the legal protection for denomination of wine is not sufficient in Japan because of the lack of national legislation. Currently, the local government of Yamanashi and the Winemakers Association are working together to achieve the registration of geographical indication of “Yamanashi”, which is indispensable for legal protection of its vitivinicultural terroirs. In 2010, Koshu City of Yamanashi Prefecture created a system of the appellation of origin which necessitates them to control for the origin of grapes in all parcels. These recent efforts are important to increase the awareness of Yamanashi wine in domestic and global markets and to propagate the notion of terroir amongst the Japanese consumers.

Author: Kensuké EBIHARA1

Meiji-Gakuin University, Faculty of Law 1-2-37 Shirokane-dai, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 108-8636, JAPON

Email: ebi@law.meijigakuin.ac.jp

Keywords: geographical indication, legal protection, appellation of origin

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