According to legend, in 718 in Katsunuma (Yamanashi on the main island of Honshu), Saint Gyoki planted vines given to him by the Buddha Nyorai and built the Daizenji temple. In honour of the Buddha, Gyoki created a statue called Budo Yakushi (Budo = wine, Yakushi = teacher of medicine), which still stands in the temple today. Wine was long regarded as a healing medicine in Japan. Yamanashi is still the wine-growing centre of Japan today, with around 30 modern production facilities. Buddhist monks spread vines all over the country, but the wines were mainly used as a carrier for medicines or for the production of sultanas. In Japan today, there are still many wild vines of the Asian species Vitis coignetiae growing up trees. They are only suitable for viticulture to a limited extent, but a red wine made from the Yama Budou variety was even exported to Europe during the phylloxera disaster.
In the past, you needed a wealth of encyclopaedias and specialist literature to keep up to date in your vinophile professional life. Today, Wine lexicon from wein.plus is one of my best helpers and can rightly be called the "bible of wine knowledge".Prof. Dr. Walter Kutscher
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