Ayana Misawa, Head Winemaker, Grace Wines of Yamanashi


In celebration of International Woman's Day 2023, Sakemama chats with Ayana-san, arguably Japan's most celebrated & prominent Female Winemaker.  She is a 5th generation winemaker of the Misawa family & was appointed as Head of Viticulture and Oenology at Grace Wine in 2008.


How old were you when you decided to begin working in your family winery?

Since my childhood, I have wanted to be a winemaker like my father and my grandfather. However, no female winemakers existed in Japan at that moment, and it was not expected of me to become a winemaker because I have a brother, and here in Japan, leaders are passed down through the paternal line.


Is there a female winemaker who you learned from or were inspired by along the way? Are you mentoring any female producers now?

Though I haven't had an opportunity to work under a female chief winemaker, I am lucky to have very inspiring friends like Theresa of Georg Breuer, Andrea of Mullineux Wines, Laure de Lambert Compeyrot of Chateau Sigalas Rabaud, Dorli of Weingut Dorli Muhr, María José López de Heredia, of Viña Tondonia... I respect them a lot. They are working 26 hours per day, not only for their wineries but also for the regions.