Rikiya Ueno is the fourth Nuffield Scholar to be awarded a scholarship from Japan and receives the 2023 award to study the potential and sustainable development of Japanese wine, supported by Norinchukin Bank.
Rikiya is involved in the 25-ha family farm in Hokkaido, producing wheat, sugar beet, seed potatoes, rice, cabbages, pumpkin, and asparagus in an annual rotation. This diversified, profitable business sells its products through local cooperative JA.
The Japanese wine region in Hokkaido is expanding and Rikiya sees great potential in this industry through investment by both public and private institutions.
"I would like to be part of the expansion of the wine industry in Japan and study how a newcomer can access and thrive in the sector. Globally, I want to understand how policy and law contributes to the wine industry, how climate change is affecting production, and explore a range of business models that are utilising not only production technology but also tourism".
Rikiya will visit old world wine regions in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, as well as new world wine regions in the USA, South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina, and China and believes comparing production practices in both old and new wine regions will provide the greatest knowledge and ideas.
Rikiya has Bachelor of Sciences with Honours in Agriculture and Business Management from Writtle College in the UK, and also a Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 Award in Wine. He is also hoping to complete a master's degree in Viticulture, Enology and Wine Business from Geisenheim University in Germany in the next 18-months. Rikiya attended the Global Youth Ag Summit in Belgium in 2017 as the Japanese representative and is also in charge of agricultural and food education projects for elementary schools at Sorachi Minami Young Farmers.