Even when he was very young in the city of Hiroshima, Osamu Uchida wanted to work in the wine industry. His parents, who owned a wine shop, encouraged him to live his dream. “I was always attracted by wine and French culture in general,” he explains. He decided to settle in France in 1999.
He studied French, viticulture, and oenology before obtaining a DUAD (University Diploma in Wine Tasting Aptitude) diploma.
A true lover of wine, he visited vineyards throughout France and talked at length with winegrowers. He visited nearly 300 estates and was an intern in several regions and at various châteaux in order to learn about winemaking. This led him to settle permanently in Bordeaux.
He likes to say that it is almost by accident that he first came to Bordeaux. He was very impressed with what he saw, especially the influence of history and the importance of terroir that account for the region’s worldwide reputation.
He was awed by the Méodc, famous for its outstanding great growths and distinguished châteaux, as well as an outstanding heritage and history. He also discovered another aspect that was even more interesting: “contact with winegrowers and their respect for tradition”. He decided to settle there and looked for a small vineyard plot. The thought of producing his own wine from vines surrounded by famous neighbours was a huge motivation.
After searching for a long time, he finally found 60 ares (0.60 hectares) of Cabernet Sauvignon to lease. He was delighted with this because this grape variety is his all-time favourite: “Its acidity gives it great ageing potential, but it is also enjoyable when young”.
In order to express the grapes’ fruity purity, he immediately set about applying sustainable practices and does everything he can in the vineyard manually. He picks the grapes at just the right degree of ripeness and then fermented in his garage – located not far from Château Mouton Rothschild, a contrast he is fond of citing.
According to Osamu Uchida, in order to be a winegrower “You need to be passionate about winemaking, to be very patient, and have lots of stamina – as well as a good dose of humility and an open mind“. These are the same qualities he puts to use in his role as a teacher at the Bordeaux Wine School. He was delighted with this opportunity to share his knowledge and says he “also gains a great deal from interacting with students“.
The theories he had learned during his studies were enhanced by his experience in the vineyard, giving him the truly original viewpoint of a Japanese winegrower in France. This enables him to offer students at the Bordeaux Wine School the benefit of his expertise and a viewpoint that is both highly unusual and extremely enriching.