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[Feature] Konno Vineyard! Grape picking in Yamagata

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Yamagata Prefecture is famous for its cherries.
But in fact it is also famous for its grapes, as Yamagata boasts Japan’s third largest grape production.
It is Japan’s largest Delaware grape producers and as such is known as a Grape Kingdom. (^-^)

The Honzawa district in southwest of Yamagata city is the most active area for grape production in the city.
From summer to autumn, vineyards full of fruits spread out. It is a fascinating sight going along Route 5.

We are ready to pick grapes this year too!
I was always wondering about Konno vineyard, which is very popular in the Honzawa district.
I have tried cherry and strawberry picking before, but grape picking has a different charm and fun (^-^)

This time, I am reporting with children on how they can enjoy grape picking in Yamagata.
I will also introduce points to enjoy grape picking even more!

1. What is Konno Vineyard?

① Abundant use of organic fertilizer with reduced pesticides

One of the characteristics of Konno Vineyard is that it uses a lot of organic fertilizer with reduced pesticides.
When I asked Mr. Konno, the owner of the garden, I was very impressed that he spoke with confidence.
As a parent with a small child, it is a sensitive matter so this makes it reassuring.

Organic fertilizers are expensive, but the grapes taste much better. My family is also fascinated by the grapes.
The children were hungry for them just as if they were obsessed (^^;)

 

② About 20 varieties of grapes

There are 20 varieties of grapes cultivated in Konno Vineyard!
They all have different appearances and tastes, and include, to name a few, Delaware, Shine Muscat, Pione, Niagara and Steuben.
One of the attractions of Kono Vineyard is that you can get the most delicious varieties at different times because the seasons are different.
This time we visited the beginning of the season so it was only Delaware, but during the all season you will be able to try King Delaware, Niagara, and the quite popular Shine Muscat.
* The varieties that can be picked are limited to Delaware, Niagara and Stuben.

Next to Delaware, a variety of ready-to-eat grapes were growing well (^-^)

The varieties available for grape picking and their approximate season are as follows.

Variety Harvest time (approximate)
Delaware Late July to late August
Niagara Early August to late August
Steuben Late August to mid September

 

③ Unlimited time

I was shocked by this!
There is no time limit for grape picking at Konno Vineyard! ! !

The owner Konno-san says “It’s better to eat slowly.”
This is so wonderful!

If there is a time limit children will be stressed out.
But because there was none, everything was just smooth.
Even if your kids start fooling around, dirty their hands or clothes, or start playing tag,
​ it doesn’t matter​.
You will still have time for the grapes (T^T)
There was no rush so we were able to eat the grapes at our own pace.

There is no time limit so you will enjoy the grapes plenty!

2. Enjoy freshly picked grapes!

① Access to Konno Vineyard

First of all, the road to Konno Vineyard is easy of access…
From Prefectural Road 5 (Yamagata Nanyo Line) heading from Yamagata City toward Shirataka, you will see a signboard on your right.

There is a T-junction when you follow the signs and you need to turn left here.

After that, if you follow the road for about 150 meters, you will arrive at the vineyward.

The space on the right of the office is a parking lot, but if it is full, please ask at the office staff.

② Let’s go to the land of dreams!

We have completed the reception and are ready to go!
The view of the entrance to the vineyard is really beautiful, and at this point the expectations grow even more!

This is the view that spreads out in front of you as you go further!

A great number of grapes were hanging from the vines (≧-≦)
It was my first time to see the actual grapes up close.
Even the children were excited running around, saying, “Wow!

These are really good grapes!

Each had a dark skin color and a white powder (bloom) is firmly attached.
Later, I will show you how to choose delicious grapes, but honestly, all are excellent. (^-^).

I’ll try collecting grapes immediately!
Since this is my first challenge, Mr. Konno has taught me how to collect grapes.

However…
There was no particular trick, and he said, “Hold the grape firmly and cut a few centimeters on the stem that you like.” (^-^)

Children go right in!

Carrying my kid I could see his eyes shine when I was harvesting the grapes.
You can do so close to home!
Yamagata is really the best. (^-^)

After the harvest, everyone is ready to eat!
The sweetness and freshness make me sigh (≧0≦)
The children seemed to like it so much that they finished all three 3 bunches (laughs)
It’s a photo opportunity to squeeze your cheeks and eat intently!

As an aside, there are lots of grapes in every bunch, so for children not that many are needed.
This is helpful for parents!

 

③ Take out

You can bring back home the grapes you harvested and those that you couldn’t eat for a fee.
After hearing that, the children started to think about what to bring home…

This time we took out a total of 5 bunches.
At 1 yen per gram, it costed about 800 yen!
* The price varies depending on the season and grape variety.

It is fun to just come buy grapes like this too. (^-^)

3. Points for enjoying grape picking

① The smaller the fruit, the sweeter it is! ?

It was shocking information for my family who were looking for grapes that were large in size and packed with fruits. (°°)
If you eat by grapes just after picking them, it seems that the ones with smaller grains and the less fruits on the bunch have a higher the sugar content.
The smaller the grains, the more sweetness is condensed, and there are even more gaps, so it seems that the sweetness increases when exposed to a lot of sunlight.
However, it is said that good-looking bunches with large abundant grains are used for gifts.
I learned a lot.

② Darkness and white powder! ?

Color density is also an important factor.
One of the conditions for delicious grapes is “to be ripe.”
Since the degree of the color of the skin can be used to judge the condition of the grapes, the ones with a darker color are recommended.

Also, check the white powder (bloom) on the surface of the skin.
It is said that grapes with a lot of this powder are well managed and can be used as a guide for whether or not they are ill.
The grapes of Konno Vineyard were firmly covered with bloom. (^-^)

③ Leisure sheet

There are tables and chairs in the vineyard, but in limited number.
Also, since the grapes are in a fairly low position, taller individuals will be crouching all the time.
For this reason, we recommend that you bring a leisure sheet on which you can sit and enjoy the grapes.

4. Notes on grape picking

① Countermeasure against insects

Mosquitoes come in depending on the time and place in the vineyard.
The vineyard has some repellent available but if you have something you like or want, please bring it with you.
We visited this time early in the morning, but I was stung a few times before applying insect repellent (^^;)
I think it is better if you prepare in the parking lot.

② Easy to move clothes

As with any fruit picking activity, we recommend clothes that are easy to move in and that can be dirtied with no worries.
Have a look at this.

You may want to avoid sandals or shoes with heels, as the ground may be muddy after rain.
If you come here on a date, please bring a pair of extra shoes.

③ Be careful if you are tall or have back pain

The vines grow in a fairly low position.

My 175 cm tall husband was always crouched.
He frequently has back pain, so at the end of the activity he said he was hurting badly.
Please be careful if you are tall or have a bad back .
We recommend that you bring a sheet to sit down except when you move around.

④ With children

If you are coming with small children, bring the following addition to insect repellent.
・ Wet tissues
・A change of clothes

After eating the grapes, you will have to wipe your mouth and hands (laughs)!
For some reason, the little ones of our family had their clothes colored with grape juice (^^;)
It is quite useful to keep a change of clothes for after the grape picking, especially in this summer season.
In addition, I feel that it is difficult to use a stroller here so I recommend a baby sling if you come with infants.

5. Direct sales and shipping

The office can take care of direct sales and shipping of grapes.

Many people buy grapes for personal consumption or for gifts.
As I mentioned earlier, it is about 800 yen for 5 bunches of grapes of such quality…
It’s a luxury unique to the local area (^-^)
*Price varies depending on the season and grape variety

The long-established confectionery store Juichiya has a Shine Muscat Daifuku sweets...

The popular Shine Muscat Daifuku and Shine Muscat Parfait of the long-established Japanese and Western confectionery shop Juichiya, which has its main store in Nanokamachi in Yamagata City, use Shine Muscat grapes from Konno Vineyard. 
​ ​* Konno Vineyard’s Shine Muscat grapes are used in these sweets from the beginning of August to the middle of September.

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This is premium grape of the Shine Muscat variety, which is usually hard to come by.

Why don’t you enjoy a daifuku sweets or a parfait with the whole Shine Muscat as gifts or as a reward to yourself?

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Detailed information

[Feature] Limited time offer! Super luxury ☆ Shine Muscat Daifuku using large premium grapes & parfait @ Juichiya in Nanokamachi, Yamagata City

[Feature] Limited time offer! Super luxury ☆ Shine Muscat Daifuku using large premium grapes & parfait @ Juichiya in Nanokamachi, Yamagata City

特集記事はこちらから⬇︎

6. Basic information of Konno vineyard

Click here for basic information

Detailed information

Konno Vineyard

Konno Vineyard

461 Hasedo, Yamagata City

023-689-9399023-689-9399

7. Grape picking fees

※2020年度のぶどう狩りは終了いたしました。
2021年度(令和3年)は7月10日頃を予定しております。

Kono Vineyard offers an all-you-can-eat and unlimited time quality grape eating activity. 
The fees are as follows.

Adult (junior high school student and above) 1,000 yen
Elementary school 700 yen
4 years or older 500 yen
Under 4 Free

 

8. [Other] Recommended articles for picking fruits

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