Along with sake and rice, the northwestern prefecture of Niigata is also famed for its picturesque vineyards yielding high-quality local wine. Five different wineries make up the Niigata Wine Coast, each with its own unique characteristics.
The largest and oldest of the bunch is Cave d'Occi, which has expanded its facilities to include hot springs, spa services, restaurants, and even accommodation, allowing visitors to spend the night amongst the lush nature and expansive Niigata vineyards.
Top picture: Cave d'Occi

What Is the Niigata Wine Coast?

Image: Cave d'Occi

The Niigata Wine Coast is a vineyard region located in the spacious southwestern outskirts of Niigata City. Despite technically being a part of the city, the area is rural and remote, mainly consisting of farmland and quiet beaches, all within view of the iconic mountains of Kakudayama and Yahiko.
Part of the famously fertile Echigo Plain, the soil here is fine and sand-like and has long been highlighted as an area suitable for grape cultivation. There is also little snowfall here, a rarity in Niigata, and the high humidity protects the vines and buds.
The first winery to venture into the area was Cave d'Occi in 1992, which aimed to create wines using both 100% domestic Japanese grapes alongside European varieties, an ambition rare in Japan at the time. Inspired by the accomplishments of Cave d'Occi, several other aspiring winemakers were attracted to the area, including “Fermier” in 2006 and Domaine Chaud in 2009, growing to five wineries as of 2022.

More Than Just Wine! What to Do at Cave d'Occi

Even if wine isn’t your thing, a visit to Cave d'Occi is still more than worthwhile. Complementing the vineyards are all-natural hot springs, a smorgasbord of irresistible gourmet food, freshly brewed craft beer, two high-class hotels, and more. Let’s take a look!

Relishing the Wine of Niigata

Image: Cave d'Occi

After success in wine, Cave d'Occi began expanding its facilities to create an all-encompassing luxury experience. The sprawling winery is now made up of several facilities dotting the vineyards, each boasting its own specialty.
Naturally, most visitors start by sampling the wine. 60-minute Cave d'Occi winery tours with tastings are held every day at 11:00 a.m., costing 2,000 yen per person (not including tax, limited to 6 participants each day). Keep in mind that advanced reservations are required at least two days beforehand, so don’t just turn up expecting to be served (see below for the booking number).
The winery tour will take you through the vineyards, brewery, barrel aging roo…

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