The winery is located about 30 minutes by train from Obihiro, the Western part of Hokkaido. I visited there in the summer. A really nice breeze came through the train windows. It might have been a nicer ride if there were no high school kids shouting and laughing in the car, but it was during commuting hours and that must have been what the local daily life looks like.
The structure of the winery is known as Wine Castle and looking up from the station, it certainly looked like a castle to me.
It took me about 15 minutes to walk to the winery. The place is on a hill. You can get a 360˚ view of the Tokachi plain from the rooftop of the castle.
The winery started as a revitalization project for the region in 1960, but struggled to harvest good grapes in the super cold climate. After several years of struggle, they succeeded in breeding new grapes from wild berries. Yamasachi, Kiyomi and Kiyomai are the original results of these efforts.
There is a big Korean BBQ restaurant next to the winery, which was filled with locals visiting the winery and eating local beef. This is how most visitors enjoy this winery. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to take in the Korean BBQ.
In the evening, I went to an eating street with many food vendors. The day had gotten pretty humid, so having dinner outdoors was nice. A farmer was sitting next to me and was good company for the evening. He enlightened me on farming in Japan, its technology and his prospective. The white asparagus was just in season. Obihiro has many cheese factories too, so I tried a raclette. It had a mild taste and flavor, id est, not stinky enough for me but it was still good.