A Japanese comic strip about wine, whose tales of mythical libations and fantastical odysseys have been said to influence the explosive wine boom currently taking hold in Asia, has been translated into English for the first time.
Since 2004, Drops of God has attracted a cult-like following across Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China, for its plot-driven story that elevates wine to a powerful and mystical symbol.
The English version -- now available in bookstores in the UK and the US -- comes three years after its French translation.
Described by industry trade publication Decanter as "arguably the most influential wine publication for the past 20 years," the Japanese manga is written by brother-sister duo Shin and Yuko Kibayashi, whose own obsessive penchants for French wine has likewise produced a frenzy in Asia for esoteric producers highlighted in the story, like Chateau Mont-Pérat in Bordeaux and Domaine Emmanuel Rouget in Burgundy, points out Wine Enthusiast.
Wine sales in Japan are said to have jumped 130 percent in the first year of its publication, according to figures from the publisher, as reported by Decanter.
The series follows the adventures of hero Shizuku Kanzaki, son of a legendary Japanese wine critic, who embarks on a journey to collect 12 mythic wines described in his father's will.
The first person to find the 12 wines plus a 13th and most elusive bottle, "Drops of God," inherits his father's priceless wine collection.
In Japan, Drops of God has a weekly readership of 360,000, and in 2009, the series was turned into TV series.