When you think of a pleasant wine country vacation do you think bucolic back-country roads, soothing rural atmosphere, abundant natural beauty and a temporary refuge from the world’s problems? Or do you think earthquake, tsunami, nuclear meltdown and enough radiation to make an entire region glow in the dark?

If the latter choice doesn’t quite set you racing to make travel plans, you can only imagine the Herculean task facing the folks at Akiu Winery in the Japanese prefecture of Miyagi, which since 2011 has been battered by 9.0 and 7.1 earthquakes, a tsunami with waves of up to 125 feet, and the meltdown of the nuclear reactor at Fukushima, which caused the evacuation of 160,000 people and made portions of the region uninhabitable.

Still, the Japanese are giving it a shot, with millions of dollars of private and government money poured into the area to bring back its moribund foreign and domestic tourist business. Though Japanese soils aren’t considered ideal for the production of high-quality vinifera grapes, there’s nonetheless a boom for locally produced wines, which in the case of Akiu will include estate-grown Merlot, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer.

Winery and government officials hope Akiu will be a major part of that effort, helping to revive not only the area’s tourist industry but restaurants and other local businesses that have yet to recover from the string of natural (and unnatural) disasters. Whether images of neatly planted vineyards will replace those of a nuclear moonscape is a question that will take some time to answer.