Tonaki Island wine tasting event held in Naha

Tonaki Island wine tasting event held in Naha

On March 10, participants sampled Tonaki wine at Brain Okinawa in Kumoji, Naha.

March 17, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

On March 10, at Brain Okinawa in Kumoji, Naha, the Cooperative Association Okinawa Industrial Project held the first ever Tonaki wine tasting event. The association plays a leading role in island economic development projects, including the cultivation of the local grape Ryukyu ganebu on unused arable land in Tonaki Village. The grapes are then used to make wine and to encourage job creation.

The crop volume was low because of last year’s typhoons, and the ripeness was not up to standard, having a strong acidic taste. But even so, people involved in the project celebrated the completion of trial products and that fact that at least they have started.

The first Tonaki wine trial products.

Ryukyu ganebu has previously attracted little attention because of its meager flesh and strong acidic taste, but research carried out by Osaka Prefectural University shows that when fruit and leaves are exposed to ultraviolet light, they synthesize the highly functional components for resveratrol, which is beneficial for anti-aging.

On this occasion, 9.5 kilograms of wine were made from 15 kilograms of fruit. Researchers involved in cultivation and the ten staff members from the Nago Pineapple Winery who made the product attended the tasting and enjoyed the first Tonaki wine. The participants commented about it being a very young wine and having a beautiful color.

Professor Ryosuke Mochioka of the University of Kagawa, who researches cultivation methods, explained, “It has a strong acid taste because typhoons affected the timing of the picking season.” Daisuke Toda, Sales Division Chief of the Nago Pineapple Winery who was in charge of test production, said, “Making good wine depends on the quality of the fruit. We need greater volume and high-sugar content. But at last we have got as far as the start line.” From now, Okinawa Industrial Projects aims to commercialize the wine. In addition, next year they are planning to test-market cosmetic products that use Ryukyu Ganebu. For more information about the project, call Okinawa Industrial Projects on 098 (861) 7007.

(English translation by T&CT, Megumi Chibana and Mark Ealey)

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