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Pineapple wines something different to try

Date Posted: 2011-01-14

Pineapple wines produced at Japan's first pineapple winery are soon to be within reach of American consumers at Okinawa Market on Chuo Park Avenue.

The tasty ‘Lagrima Del Sol' pineapple wines are produced at the only pineapple production region in the nation, at Nago Pineapple Park just outside Nago City. The slightly dry and slightly sweet pineapple wines are available in 360ml and 720ml bottles, with both varieties offering a tropical taste that's easy on the palate, yet with a body that compliments both fish and meat dishes equally.

Nago Pineapple Park has had its winery in operation since 1992, providing tens of thousands of tourists the opportunity the visit the pineapple fields and see the growing process, then move inside to see the winery operations. Japan Update featured the Pineapple Park in an issue a couple of months ago in our Nov 11 issue. The park has more than 100 types of pineapple plants from around the world, as well as flower exhibits and a gift shop with a variety of seashells and souvenirs, a restaurant and a sales area.

Most of the pineapples going into pineapple wine do not come from the park itself; there are dozens of pineapple fields scattered across Okinawa's northern mountains, where the acid-rich red clay soil is ideal for growing the sweet pineapples. In simplified terms, the process for turning pineapples to wine involves taking raw pineapples and skinning them, removing the core, and crushing the fruit under pressure to collect the juice. The juice is stabilized by heating to a temperature of 90C, then cooled to 15C before yeast is added and the juice allowed to ferment for two weeks. Once fermentation is complete, carbonation is removed and the wine filtered, then bottled and capped. After aging three months, it's ready for consumption.

The Nago Pineapple Park is an ideal family adventure. Motorized pineapple carts transport visitors through the fields, a trip taking about ten minutes. From there, it's every visitor for himself/herself, taking as much time as desired. The pineapple wines and other pineapple cakes and products are available for free sampling and, of course, for purchase.

Entry to the Nago Pineapple Park is エ500 for adults, high school and junior high school students. Elementary school students pay エ250, while preschoolers are free. To visit the park, take Highway 58 north to Nago. Following the sharp right bed in Highway 58 above the city limits, move to the left lane. A few signal lights farther you'll see signs for Highway 84. Take Highway 84, and as you drive up the hill, huge pineapple statues on the right will tell you you've arrived.

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