The Goto Islands are one of our most unique destinations. The laid back atmosphere there breeds characters that you wouldn’t see outside of the islands on the mainland. As part of our series of videos on the islands, we decided to visit the winery there and ask its matriarch Kumiko Kitagawa a few questions.
Mrs. Kitagawa was born in Goto, and now manages the vineyards for the winery there. She started off her career as a gardener for the resort that owns the winery, doing small tasks like planting flowers in the flower beds around the resort. She was approached by her manager one day, right before she turned 60 years old (!), about growing grapes instead of flowers. Mrs. Kitagawa, at the age of 60 had never even touched a grape in her life. She had no experience with agriculture, and had only done gardening up until that point in her life.
She accepted the challenge, and made a one-day trip to a Miyazaki vineyard to learn about about it before setting off to start her own vineyard in the extremely challenging environment of Fukuejima. 10 years later, she has birthed one of only two island vineyards in the entire nation. Mrs. Kitagawa is an inspiration of what is possible with the right attitude. Not only did she know nothing about grapes or wine, but this was her first agricultural endeavor. Watch the video to learn more about her, and sign up for one of our Toki tours to visit the Goto Islands, and the vineyard.