Japanese wine cartoon makes Bordeaux grower famous

Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:33am EDT
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By Claude Canellas

SAINT-CIBARD, France (Reuters Life!) - Chateau owner Jean-Pierre Amoreau is a celebrity in Japan -- a privilege he owes to a wine-obsessed cartoon he had never heard of until diehard fans started calling him at home.

Amoreau, owner of the Puy Chateau near the village of Saint-Cibard in southwestern France, said he did not know what to think last year when he started getting calls from Japanese buyers who wanted to buy his 2003 growth bottles at any cost.

His agent explained the reason for the calls: a television show broadcast in Japan.

Named "The Drops of God," it is a cartoon about wine that has won a passionate following in Japan and has the peculiar trait of referring mainly to real bottles.

It tells the story of a famous oenologist who, upon his death, bequeaths a vast wine cellar to one of his two sons on the condition he can solve 12 riddles about 12 bottles.

After completing the challenge, the heir has to track down a 13th bottle -- the ultimate, perfect bottle of wine -- known as the "Drops of God."

"For the last episode ... millions of Japanese people were in front of their TVs about to find out the name of the chateau which Tadashi Agi thought produced the best wine of thousands he had tasted the world over," Amoreau said.

The cartoon gave birth to a comic book that boosted the success of his wine with Japanese consumers. "Today we are the best-known wine-makers in Japan," he added.   Continued...