A Japanese Winemaker in Australia

Atsuko Radcliffe is the first female winemaker from Japan, and the only Japanese person to have created a brand of wine in Australia.


Atsuko Radcliffe studied brewing and fermenting at Tokyo University of Agriculture before obtaining a degree in microbiology and food chemistry. Her ambition was to work in a sake brewery, despite the fact that this can be a challenging path in what is still a male-dominated industry. Atsuko Radcliffe started working for a leading company in Japan’s chemical sector, before finding a position at the wine-producing company Coco Farm & Winery in Tochigi Prefecture, where she was able to carve out a place for herself as a winemaker.

An award-winning first vintage

She then headed to Australia to develop her technique and to learn about a different wine culture and production process. Since 2013, she has been based in Denman, Upper Hunter, approximately 250 kilometres northwest of Sydney. The name of her brand, Small Forest, is a translation of her maiden name, Kobayashi.

‘My ultimate goal is to produce delicious wine, but as a winemaker, I think it’s important to express what I feel and to show that I like living on this land through my wine’, she explains. Her first vintage was awarded a silver medal at the International Wine Challenge in 2017. Since then, she has produced various ranges of wine, sold in both Australia and Japan.