With all the attention on Noma’s 10-week residency in Kyoto, it’s only natural that the biggest question for most people is what’s on the plate. But equally important — especially for those fortunate few who have managed to secure reservations — is what’s in the glass.

As with the food menu, the beverage program at Noma Kyoto is the fruit of long, deep and, by all accounts, highly enjoyable consideration by Noma’s head sommelier, Ava Mees List (who prefers to go by her middle name).

Mees tells The Japan Times that she crisscrossed Japan from Hokkaido down to the tip of Kyushu in her search for the perfect drinks pairing. Her mission bore fruit well beyond her expectations, both in terms of quality and the level of support she felt for her project.