Autistic Winemakers in Japan

When Bruce Gutlove holds up his vineyard’s finest bottle of chardonnay, he sees the clarity, senses the anticipated crisp taste, and savors the hard summer of tending to his grapes.

Critics in Japan call Coco’s wines some of the finest made in Japan, a country known for overly-sweet, unremarkable vintages.

It is a compliment that means more to Gutlove than the obvious, for the staff of this unique winery is made up of developmentally disabled and autistic people. More than 100 developmentally disabled people work to create Coco Farm and Vineyard’s wines.

Most of them live full-time at the vineyard, which is also a school for the developmentally disabled. The philosophy is that hard work and diligence will help improve their lives.