A Japanese Winemaker in Australia

Atsuko Radcliffe turned to wine having initially wanted to work with sake, which is still a male-dominated industry.


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.


More information about Small Forest can be found on the vineyard’s website.