“Bad wine” does not exist in this world. We really believe so. Instead, it is a matter of personal preference. Regardless of whether a bottle is praised for its exquisite taste or its impressive price tag, all becomes irrelevant if in the end it does not resonate with the drinker’s preference. However, with a wine market that is rapidly expanding in Japan, we understand that, year after year, finding a favourite bottle without experience or knowledge becomes difficult. Even the same bottle of wine changes according to the passage of time and its environment.
This is why we need sommeliers and wine professionals. We knew it was our job to help you navigate through the milky way of wines – hence, we opened our first shop: Wine Shop FUJIMARU. Located in Kuromon Ichiba, also known as “Osaka’s kitchen”, is the heart of Osaka’s food culture. There, we were able to realise a place to connect customers and sommeliers, and provide a personable and tailored wine shopping experience.
This was, of course, easily said than done, but with the helping hands of friends from the restaurant and food industry, we were able to grow our own community around wine. It was truly a blessing and it filled me with happiness to be able to share the journey with so many others.
However, through all this there was always one question in the back of my mind:
“What really is wine?”
What is this magical beverage that has stuck around for thousands of years of human history? After over twenty years of experience, I am still stunned by this question and left without a clear answer. Fellow wine makers who make some of the most beautiful wines we know in the world all tell me this, though:
“There is no way to wholly understand wine – that, is what makes it interesting.”
These experts, who have an extensive personal relationship with wine, tell me it is not something to understand.
Looking back, this perhaps was our starting point. Knowing there isn’t a way to reach a sort of wine enlightenment, we still choose to pursue a kind of truth. This choice, the journey itself, is where the truth of wine lies. Without an end goal, the FUJIMARU team can continue this life work, to explore and expand possibilities, and to become the mediator that connects the dots within the world of wine, and elsewhere – the world with wine.
FUJIMARU began as a wineshop; then, a vineyard and winery; and finally, a restaurant. As we expanded, we have become familiar with the wine and food industry, experiencing firsthand its rigorous transformation. Sometimes it felt like we would disappear in the storm of trends and the industry’s fast pace. But I wonder, did the world really change that much? Twenty years ago we did not have convenience stores on every street corner nor smartphones in every hand; but both have grown to become integral parts of our daily lives because they fulfil a human necessity. Regardless of what field it belongs to, or what shape it possesses, the essence of humanness seems unchanged – only the means of how we respond to it.
At FUJIMARU, we believe wine fulfils us humans in some essential way, for the very reason that it has been in the world for so long. In this ever-changing world, we strive to keep proposing facets of a timeless and essential food knowledge.
ABOUT OUR WINE SELECTIONS
Our company name, Papilles, means “taste buds”, or gustatory cells of the tongue, in French. As a wine negotiant, we personally visit vineyards and wineries to taste and select our wines.
The kind of wine we really want to introduce to people are the ones rich with personality. Something that, with each sip, tells the story of the land and the people by which it was made; something with a face and depth that people can familiarise with and integrate in their daily lives. Although we like to work without discrimination, we are drawn most often to natural wines for the rich stories that they tell, than wines that have a focus on special distillation techniques.
Once selected, our wines are carefully stored in temperature-controlled cellars. In addition to installing wine cellars in each of our wine shops, a larger selection of over 300 bottles are kept in our 15 centigrade temperature-controlled cellar. Delivery within our designated deliverable areas are carried out by our staff with our own reefer truck.