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.
Do you see a growing number of women stepping up to take-over their family’s businesses in Japan more recently?
Yes, I see it is changing.
I am the first female winemaker in our family, in a very traditional Japanese family. Likewise, all my female family members, including me, went to girls' school. I remember I put on the same uniform as my mother’s and her hand-me-downs. Even as far as my grandparents and my parents got married by arranged marriages. It shouldn’t be that way; however, gender may restrict the job opportunity.
I don't remember exactly how old I was. When I was a child, I liked the must (fermenting juice) very much.
What is the local Singaporean dish you miss most?