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Uncorking Apartments for Wine Connoisseurs in Tokyo

Posted: Tuesday, 01 October 2013 17:21

Uncorking Apartments for Wine Connoisseurs in Tokyo

Oct 01: It may still be far-fetched in the Indian realty market but some progressive and pro-active developer may take a leaf out of a Japanese builder's book who is bringing out a building in the upscale Shibuya district featuring a temperature and humidity-controlled room in the basement for 10,000 bottles and with each of the 18 units provided with a wine cooler for 26 bottles and a rack for glasses.

Appropriately named Wine Apartment, it is ideal for those affluent persons who have trouble finding storage space for a large wine collection with a visiting sommelier making it a perfect place to live. "Tokyo is a unique market for wine lovers," said Takayuki Suzuki, the president of the property developing company, adding, "They do not just enjoy drinking wine but also have academic interest in wine. Wine schools are always busy here. That is why I am seeing potential for a property like this."

A popular bistro will open a branch in November on the first floor of the 10-storey building, where residents can bring and drink their own bottles for about $20 corkage charge. They can also order food to be delivered to their apartments.

The success of the project and the demand for such units in the relatively sophisticated wine market in Japan may be gauged by the fact that about 70 % of the units have already been taken.  Monthly rents for the apartments measuring about 500 square feet are around $2,600 each, about 30 percent higher than the going market price in the area.

Tenants pay a monthly storage charge to put up to 300 bottles in the wine cellar; they may pay extra for larger collections. A sommelier will visit the building on weekends to advise residents on how to pair food with wine and can be hired for parties as well for additional charge.

Taizo Osawa is a tenant, who owns a winery in New Zealand called Osawa Wines. He plans to use the space as his office and a tasting room for customers. He started his winery after buying land in Hawkes Bay in 2005 and released his first vintage in 2008. He makes wine mainly from Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir grapes. "This venue should help us expand our sales network in Japan," he says.

Residents at the Wine Apartment can borrow glasses from a collection of 100 types displayed in the lobby. Each has a different shape - some with Japanese porcelain in the stem. The sommelier can help to choose the best glass for the type of grape, production area and vintage, according to the report

It may not be as simple in India  as in Tokyo where the market and the regulators are considered quite well developed. Excise permissions will be a big issue but not so difficult as not to be doable. We just need someone who is slightly non-conventional in his approach, he would have to be a big wine connoisseur himself.

Tags: Tokyo,Wine Apartment


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