Los Angeles, CA – The unanticipated success and popularity of The Drops of God manga series inspired creators, siblings Shin and Yuko Kibayashi, to establish an eponymously named online wine salon and community, set to debut in the United States this October.
The manga series, which includes 44 volumes and a spin-off television series, had a tremendous impact on the international wine market and on various featured wines. Japan’s All Nippon Airlines re-designed its in-flight wine list to meet the demand for wines favored by The Drops of God protagonist, Shizuku Kanzaki. Sales of Umberto Cosmo’s Colli di Conegliano Rosso increased by 30% after appearing in the manga series.
With The Drops of God, the Kibayashi’s created a universe wherein wine became not only a vehicle to recall deeply nostalgic memories, but also served as a gateway to deeply rich emotional experiences. In the series, wine is elevated to a highly coveted art form, and the sensory experiences it imparts serve to enrich the inner lives of the characters. Similarly, the Kibayashi’s intend with their wine salon to create an online community of like-minded individuals who view wine as a soulful beverage, capable of turning an ordinary moment into something unforgettable. Members can expect that their wines will be specifically curated to their personal tastes and tailored to the trajectory of their personal journey.
As they set their sights on the United States, the Kibayashi’s joined forces with vintner Peter Chiang to build a paradigm-shattering wine experience for the consumer. Chiang serves as President of Bijou USA and Vice President of Bijou Japan, the global joint venture established with the Kibayashi’s to better serve salon members in the United States, Japan and Taiwan, among other nations. The Chiang family owns Kanpai Wines and Meadowbrook Farm in the Napa Valley.
Together, they are set to launch a full-service online wine salon, featuring an interactive educational wine game, a thoughtfully curated wine club, personal wine recommendations for individual members and the ability to procure said recommendations via the site, and a sweeping rewards program, which includes special offers at aspirational restaurants and hotels, as well as specially procured foods and other gift items.
“It’s no secret that a lot of what we’ve featured in the manga thus far has been focused on the old world. But what really caught our attention was the modern, balanced, site-specific New World wines we’ve been tasting over the past few years. These wines excite us and we’re committed to sharing them with our fans,” the Kibayashi’s shared through a translator. The manga and television series has a reported fan base of 300 million.
“We will be applying the same principals for the exploration of American wines we shared in the manga: Heaven, Earth, Man and Marriage,” the siblings added. In The Drops of God, Heaven represents the weather, and is a direct reference to the climate of a given geographical area. Earth refers to terroir, or soil and viticultural/cultural practices and conditions. Man refers to winemaking and cellar practices, while Marriage refers to the marriage of wine and food. The Drops of God Wine Salon will encourage members to learn more about their own palates and preferences through a series of engaging, visually stunning images that are part of the salon’s unconventional approach to wine education. “We want to engage the right side of the brain; the creative side that is attracted to the arts, for wine is an art and it is an art form that should be available to all, as music is,” said Chiang.
Chef José Andrés (The Bazaar in Los Angeles), Rob Wilder, (co-founder,ThinkFoodGroup) and Gary Mendel (co-Founder and COO of the WineGame app), will join forces with the Kibayashis during the Los Angeles kick-off event. Guests will be able to sample a Drops of God version of the popular WineGame, a simple app that that turns any bottle of wine into a multiple-choice blind tasting game. During the launch event, some lucky attendees will be able to test their blind-tasting skills and learn about The Drops of God Salon Wines along the way. Finalists will have an opportunity to play against wine luminaries and win prizes including rare wines featured in the series. WineGame launched in 2018 and was inspired by Andrés and Wilder’s on-going (and lively) blind tasting game they played with sommeliers and restaurateurs for years.
During each fête, guests will be encouraged to have fun and relax while discovering new wines paired with an array of small bites specifically tailored to the featured wines. Among the wines already curated for the club’s first shipment are Failla, Matthiasson, Massican, Noria, Kanpai, Marietta, Ashes & Diamonds and Scribe. From there, the siblings will research and then vet additional wines for future shipments. “In essence, we want to bring beautiful wines to the everyman and woman,” Chiang continued. “Accessibility and discovery are the foundation of our salon. In the manga series, many of the wines mentioned were hard-to-find benchmarks. With the Drops of God Wine Salon, we’ll be sharing wines that are approachable, accessible and delicious. The human senses that are most tied to emotions, memories, and nostalgia are smell and taste. Wine, with its vast complexity and infinite variations when paired in conjunction with food offers the greatest avenue for creating lasting memories which wine drinkers can associate with,” Chiang continued.
The three debut events will take place between October 19th and the 21st and include the following venues: Kanpai Winery (Napa Valley), Ad Hoc (Yountville), and The Bazaar (Beverly Hills). To learn more about the Drops of God Wine Salon, and to purchase tickets to an event in your area, please visit www.dropsofgodwinesalon.com.