Kunoh Wines by Yuki Nakano is a wonderful example of new world natural wine making. Nakano-san produces no preservative wines in three different countries: Upper Moutere in New Zealand, Barossa in Australia, and Kawasaki in Japan.
The name "Kunoh" pays homage to a quasi extinguished family name, which lives on thanks to him! The family name comes from his mother's side and only six people still carry it in all of Japan.
Before starting Kunoh Wines, Nakano-san worked at Poggio Scalette in Tuscany, at Smallfry in Australia, and as Alex Craighead's assistant winemaker at Kindeli in New Zealand. His connections with other beloved winemakers doesn't stop there since Nakano-san makes his range of Japanese wines at Fattoria AL FIORE, hosted by the lovely duo Hirotaka and Reina Meguro.
Nakano-san's palate is the driving force behind the creation of his diverse range of wines. He is a former sommelier from Kyoto's fine dining restaurants, an experience that is still evident in the present considering his immense focus on how wine works on the palate. To date, he only eats Japanese food to maintain the purity of his tasting skills.
This brings a unique umami quality to his wines, which he makes for both drinking and pairing. Yuki sees grapes as very delicate and sensitive products of the environment, and for them to be represented at their best, he practices maximum minimum-invasion in his winemaking, which he defines as being 90% about growing and picking timing and 10% about turning the grape’s essence into pure wines.
A wide variety of grapes are used at Kunoh Wines. His New Zealand range includes Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Viognier, Gewurtztraminer, Pinot Noir and Syrah. Nakano-san's Japanese range includes Niagara, Delaware, Steuben, Chardonnay and Merlot.
Yuki’s favourite grape to work with is Riesling, and aside from rare exceptions, he only drinks white wine.