Picking Grapes in Early Autumn

October 4th, 2017 by
Category: Cuisine, Experience, Information, Outdoor Activities, Seasonal Topics

One of Nagano’s original grape varieties, Nagano Purple!

One of the joys of early autumn is harvest season, when fruit hangs low on the tree and is ripe for picking. During September and early October, you can pick grapes in vineyards throughout Nagano.

There are a wide variety of grapes to choose from. You’ll be surprised by the different flavors of Delaware, Niagara, and Steuben grapes, as well as the monstrous size of Kyoho and Nagano Purple. Don’t forget fan favorites like Shine Muscat!

Grape-Picking at Sorimachi Yuran-en

Grapes hang above the parking lot of Sorimachi Yuran-en.

These photos are from the Sorimachi Yuran-en orchard in Northern Suzaka. Along the Fruits Line road here, there are 13 orchards offering grape and apple-picking during the autumn season. From Kitasuzaka Station on the Nagano Dentetsu line, the orchards are a 10 to 15 minute walk.

Our guide, Shun Sorimachi, picks out some ripened Nagano Purple grapes for us.

The fourth generation of Sorimachis, Shun Sorimachi, showed us around the vineyards and pointed out ripe bunches to pick. We crawled under trellises of grapes covered in paper bags, which are painstakingly tied by hand to each bunch. He pulled off the bags to reveal one of the region’s most delicious varieties, Nagano Purple.

Some of the grapes hang quite high. I picked these grapes with the help of a ladder.

We also picked some Shine Muscat grapes, another popular variety in Nagano. Both of these varieties are seedless with edible skin. There are plenty of other varieties to pick as well, and you can sample them at Sorimachi’s storefront.

A delicious bunch of Shine Muscat grapes!

And Plenty of Other Places for Fruit-Picking!

Two other areas that are popular for grape-picking include Shiojiri City and Miharashi Farm in Ina. Shiojiri is well known for its vineyards in the Kikyogahara Valley that produce excellent wine, and the grapes are pretty good too! Miharashi Farm has plenty of orchards and offers all kinds of fruit and vegetable picking, including strawberries, apples, blueberries, and even asparagus! They also have hot springs and cafeteria on premises, as well as soba-making lessons.

Enjoy this autumn season with freshly-picked grapes!

Sorimachi Yuran-en Orchard (Suzaka City)

Grape-Picking (pay per bunch)
Operating Period: Mid-September to October
Operating Hours: 8:30 to 17:00
Price: Depends on grape variety
Holidays: No holidays during harvest season
Website: http://blog.suzaka.jp/06sorimachi
Access: Take the Nagano Dentetsu train from Nagano Station to Kita-Suzaka Station. From there, a 15-min. walk.See Location in Google Maps.

Fumondi Orchard (Shiojiri City)

Operating Period: Mid-August to Late September
Operating Hours: 9:30 to Sunset
Price: Plan A/ 1,080, Plan B/2,160, Plan C/ 3,260 (half price for children)
Plan A: Outdoor picking; seedless Delaware grapes
Plan B: Greenhouse picking; Delaware, Golden Niagara, Red Niagara, Kyoho, Seedless Pione, Olympia, Manicure Fingers, Unibara Seven, Aki Queen, Rosario Rosso, Ruby Okuyama, Sunny Rouge
Plan C: Plan B + Shine Muscat, Nagano Purple
Access: Take the JR Chuo line from Matsumoto station to Shiojiri Station. From there, a 15 min. walk or a 5 min. taxi. See Location in Google Maps.

Miharashi Farm (Ina City)

Grape-Picking (One Hour All-You-Can-Eat*)
Operating Period: Mid-September to Late October
Operating Hours: 9:00 to 16:00 (reception ends after 15:00)
Price: 1,200 Yen (60 Yen for toddlers under 3)
Holidays: No holidays during the season
Website: http://miharashi-farm.com/pdf/english.pdf
*Large grape varieties such as Pione, Kyoho, etc. are limited to one bunch per person
Access: Take the JR Chuo line from Matsumoto Station to Okaya Station, then take the Jr Iida line to Inashi Station. From there, take the Miharashi Farm bus to your destination.

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