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It’s the dawn after Typhoon Chanthu drenched Koki Oyamada’s vineyards, and the aspiring vintners who have come to train at Domaine Oyamada are already bathed in sweat, slapping at mosquitoes as they pick bunches of petit manseng grapes in the oppressive heat.

They have gathered from around the country to study under one of the pioneers of a Japanese wine transformation that is beginning to command serious global attention — successfully shedding the persistent reputation that the country offered little more than cloying tipples fit for convenience store shelves or ryokan gift shops.

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