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The fine bubbles of wines from France’s Champagne region are the key to what makes them so prized and prestigious. And a cool, stable climate is a major factor in enabling the crisp elegance of Champagne.

In balmy Kyushu, Koji Furuya of the Ajimu Budoshu Kobo winery has beaten the odds. His sparkling wine, crafted in Champagne’s labor intensive methode traditionelle — for the finest of bubbles and a rich toasty flavor — won silver at last year’s Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships. It’s a recognition Furuya calls the result of “years of hard work and experimentation.”

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