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Yamagata's Asahi-Machi Winery: Not Quite What We Expected
Price: 2000 yen
Yamagata prefecture is home to 12 different wineries. Of them, this one had the most appealing look online and appeared to offer free samples. We were planning a road trip through Yamagata anyway, so we stopped in to take a look, assuming there might be a guided tour or something to interest our toddler in addition to the free samples.
We drove up to the place and got a few weird looks from one guy who seemed to work at the factory side of the property, removed from the tourist friendly area by a safe distance.
When we got inside, we understood why he'd had that look. There were no tours, no guides, and little information. We walked into what could have been a lobby but was instead a hallway with stairs leading up to cooperate offices and a walkway leading off to the right, to the gift shop.
The gift shop sold wine almost exclusively, but did offer tasting cups so than any would-be patron might sample as many different types of wine as they like. While I was busy sampling and trying to find something palatable but inexpensive, my husband walked around the front of the building with our daughter, who attempted to take pictures of ever.single.flower she could see.
It was not a bad experience, but could have been improved. I think they are missing out on an opportunity here, to teach us more about wine than simply which kind one might prefer via sampling. In addition, I found many of the wines to be unaffordable, even some that tasted a bit cheap to me. I'm no wine connoisseur, but the few wines I did like had price tags significantly higher than the imported wines like just as much from the grocery store. In the end, I bought three bottles of flavorful peach dessert wine to share with my brother and sister-in-law upon their visit later in the year.
It was an alright time, but I really only recommend this to adults who really enjoy drinking wine.