Meet the Judges – Yu Kurasawa

July 30, 2021

Robert Diletti


Yu Kurosawa’s love for wine started when she moved from Japan to Christchurch, in 2005. The team at Le Bon Bolli, French brasserie, taught her much about New Zealand & European wines.  She then went to London in for her study and worked for Claridge’s hotel. Their wine list was full of signature wines from all of the regions in Europe and this experience further boosted her interest. 

Yu returned to Christchurch in 2008, before moving to Australia in 2009.  In 2012 she started getting involved in curating a wine list whilst working at Collins Quarter in Melbourne. It was here that she was employed as a night manager and provided with so many opportunities to learn and study wine. She managed the wine list for 5 years at Collins Quarter.

In 2019, Yu worked for Edwin Wine Bar and Cellar as a Sommelier. Here she organised weekly public wine tastings with Victorian wine maker’s and regular wine dinners. Unfortunately, the pandemic hit and her work was paused for a short while but she is now privileged to join the team at Market Eating House as the sommelier and manager and explore some beautiful Geographe wines. Yu is also fortunate to live on the property at Bakkheia wines so is happy to be able to give a little hand to Mick with winemaking and vineyard work.

We asked Yu a few questions about her love of wine – here’s what she had to say!


What was the last show stopping wine you drank?
“2018 Morei Teroldego by Elizabetta Foradori, from Torentino, north east of Italy. It wasn’t most expensive wine as such but loved the story behind it a d it’s powerful flavour. She started her wine making when she was 20 years old in 1984. Back then, the region was in the hype of making mass production of internationally recognised wine but Elizabetta saw the potential in the local native grapes, like Teroldrgo and nurture them in biodynamic practices. The wine is very deep purple, laden with spices and floral note. Real rustic gem.

What is your go to food and wine pairing?
“Freshly shucked oysters with Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie. My ultimate combo.”

Earliest memory of wine?
“When I turned 18, I was happened to be in Christchurch and there, I had my first job outside Japan. I started working for French Brasserie where there was a big wine collection from all over the world. My work mates there let me try many different grape varieties but, being in NZ, I got introduced to world famous Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. And I loved it. My first go-to SB was Astrolabe. I cannot believe I could finish a bottle at few occasions.”

What gets you excited about the Geographe wine region?
“It’s still undiscovered comparing to other wine regions in AU. The region got so much potential and there are quite unique grape varieties growing here. Like Arneis, Fiano, Garciano, Nero d’Avola, Bastado… it’s exciting to see those wines getting introduced to the local consumers and taking off in the market. It’s also nice to have more opportunities to connect with the wine makers. Many wineries still distribute their wine directly so I have more chance to have a chat about wine from the makers.”

What’s the most interesting part of wine judging for you?
Get surprises. When I find things, I didn’t expect in a certain grape varieties, showcasing more possibilities in wine. It is also joy to have a privilege to taste wine which is produced with so much care and hard work. They always reflect in the glass. It’s always exciting to find the story behind those wines.