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Masaco’s Social Studies

Episode 4: A taste of Harmony, Kawachi Wine

CEO, Mr. Kondo’s philosophy

The winery pamphlet for Kawachi is designed with a black background and the Kawachi family crest, which represents the winery’s logo, printed on the front page. Inside the pamphlet is an article written by Mr. Kondo, about his affections and beliefs regarding wine production, with ‘We make wine with a taste of harmony” as the opening statement. Mr. Kondo expresses his ambition ‘To make the wine branded with our local tradition” to deliver his passion to include the original history and culture of local Kawachi into their wine.

Left: Kawachi Wine pamphlet: A taste of Harmony
Right: Cited from Kawachi Wine webpage 「Kawachi Wine’s stride」

History of the wines made in Kawachi

Here is a general introduction about Kawachi Wine history and where the name ‘Kawachi’ came from. Geographically, there are two large rivers that flow through the Osaka plain, then into Osaka bay. The Yodo river flows from Lake Biwa, and through Kyoto, whereas the Yamato river flows through the mountain area of ancient Yamatonokuni (Yamato Province) of Nara prefecture.

Kawachi is the name of an area. The Ikoma Mountain range, which divides Osaka and Nara from north to south, divided the area into Kita (north) Kawachi , Naka (middle) Kawachi and Minami (south) Kawachi. The whole area was called Kawachinokuni in the ancient times. Today, however, only the name Minami Kawachi has been commonly used. Besides Kawachi Wine, there are few other “Kawachi” wine producing companies around the area.

The wines produced around Kawachi have a long history. In the cities of Habikino, Kashiwara and Taishi southeast of Osaka, vineyards that cultivate grapes started in the middle of the Meiji era. The local character was originally suitable for cultivating rice. Growing vines started after Komagatani farmers started visiting Yamanashi prefecture during the early Meiji era, then came back with Koshu vines and grew them in their own gardens. Since most of the mountain slopes face west, they receive a lot of sunlight, which a plus for the already fertilized land for vineyard cultivation. In 1928, the Kintetsu-Minami-Osaka railway opened for service, so the harvested grapes could be easily transported all over the country. Therefore the Kawachi grape supply was the top one in all of Japan.

History of Kawachi Wine

Kawachi Wine Corporation restarted as a company in 1996. Formerly known as its trade name of Kintokuya Sake Brewery, established in 1934 by the first generation founder, Mr. Tokuichi Kondo. Until 2005, the 4th generation successor and CEO Mr. Shigeyuki Kondo starting reviewing all products, and how to carrying on the legacy into a new era by branding new a concept and image based on the Kawachi history.

The wines displayed in the wine cellar

Future prospective of Kawachi Wine

There is a history hall at the 2nd floor of the Kawachi wine house. In this gallery space, wine labels and a collection of bottles from early times are recorded and documented as part of Kawachi Wine’s history. Besides serving as a gallery, this space can also be used for dining, events, or if suitable, for conferences. Sound related equipment is also available, so the hall can be rented out for multi-purposes. Mr. Kondo’s statement of “a taste of harmony” fully expresses that people should share good wine in a peaceful space and enjoy life. You can see the image and prospective future that Kawachi Wine is heading towards.

2nd floor of the Kawachi wine house serves as a history hall.
Right: part of documents

“Mr. Kondo, You must have put a lot of thoughts into maintaining the business.” Masaco said.

Mr. Kondo answered “When I joined the company 15 years ago, the way I ran the business was judged as “flipping the table over” by some people. Only just recently the result has finally convinced them, to a certain extent, even though there is a lot more to be done.”

“The COVID-19 must has affected the business,” Masaco added.

Mr. Kondo replied “It sure has.” He continued, “I have been contemplating new ideas and concepts for the last 15 years. A good idea is like a gift from God, so treasure it. It is very hard for our young staff members to contribute ideas, since it takes constant thinking.”

“So how is the brand concept of Kawachi Wine finally formed?” asked Masaco.

“It takes a lot of time and money to evolute an idea for a brand.” Mr. Kondo replied. I would say half century of time may be needed. Just an ideal concept is not enough to sustain the business without a good sales result, either the other way around. In addition, the current consumers tend is to quickly value recommendations by celebrities on the Internet.”

“I see.” Masaco nodded.

Mr. Kondo added “Our aim is not to always stay on top, but at least to not be eliminated from supermarket shelves. I know that our wines hold attractions, and to win business by competing on price is not a long-term strategy. I am afraid that once we are away from our principle that was determined by what we have put into Kawachi Wine, customers who have favored us might be disappointed and leave, so we must firmly follow our instincts.

“What is the business strategy from now on?” Masaco questioned.

Mr. Kondo explained “I would like to propose a concept of lifestyle that accompanied with wine. A project that attracts consumers to buy a whole wine cellar. Also, offering a novel idea, shown by a model room, that wine is not only adds fun to events, but also can be displayed as part of interior design.”

“How about special gift packages of wine that were produced in a year that matches newly wedded couples, anniversaries, or birthdays, for presents.” Masaco suggested.

“Yes, such idea surely has included. The wine gifts may provide good memory for the receivers and enjoy Kawachi wines continuously. That will be wonderful.” agreed Mr. Kondo.

“The keychains we give out are nicely designed by a car dealer. However, I am not bragging, our wine bottle designs are very stylishly, too.” Mr. Kondo laughed while saying. “I would like to propose our visitors to bring our wine home instead of a keychain.”

“I will be thrilled to bring wine home.” Masaco replied with excitement.

Photo with Mr. Kondo (middle) and sommelier Ms. Kitamura (right), at Kawachi wine house.

Thank you all for your hospitality today.

Kawachi Wine Corporation
1027, Komagatani, Habikino-Shi, 583-0841, Osaka, Japan
Telephone No.: +81-72-956-0181

Reporter: Masaco
Singer and song writer. Born in Akashi, Hyogo Prefecture. Holds amateur radio 3rd class license, call sign JH1CBX. She has appeared in a morning drama series at NHK, and is currently active as a master of ceremonies at radio station events.

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