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New push to back Japanese wines

Published:  04 October, 2018

A campaign is being launched to back Japanese wine in the UK.

The Japanese Food Product Overseas Promotion Centre is to present an expanded selection of Japanese wines to the UK trade later this month.

This is part of a sustained programme of marketing support being put into Japanese wines in 2019, following the “success” of its first tasting in February this year.

The comprehensive campaign, run by Sarah Abbott MW, will start with a benchmarking of 100 wines, providing feedback and strategic marketing consultancy for participating wineries.

The judging panel will be led by Abbott and will also include consultants Martin Lam and Peter McCombie MW, and Caprice Holdings Group Sommelier Guillem Kerembrum.

The campaign reflected the UK’s continued “love affair” with Japanese culture, cuisine and drinks, said Abbott.

“Now is the perfect time to put more focus on Japanese wines and introduce them to UK consumers as versatile, food-friendly wines,” she said.

The Japanese Wine Academy will be offering in depth training opportunities for sommeliers and key off trade buyers and managers, in addition to a trade tasting on Tuesday 23 October.

The tasting will include wines that are already imported into the UK as well many who are seeking UK distribution, including delicate whites from indigenous Koshu.

A masterclass, which will run twice throughout the event, will give an overview into Japanese viticulture, winemaking and terroirs.

There are also plans for additional trade tastings in Manchester on 6 November and in Bristol in 2019.

The export market in Japanese wine is in its infancy.

From the early 2000s, new regulations made it easier for boutique wineries to set up, and stipulated that only Japanese grapes can make Japanese wine.