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Relevance of Chilean wine in Japan starting to slow, survey suggests

Published:  25 March, 2019

The relevance of Chilean wine in Japan, the country’s top imported wine, has started to slow down, according to the latest Landscapes report from Wine Intelligence.

Released today, the Japan Landscapes report stated that, while dominating the market, Chile was "losing power”.

This, said Wine Intelligence, was due to “consumers gravitating away from lower-priced Chilean wines, with the country struggling to enter the more premium category”.

In terms of overall trends, the report said that, in addition to the ageing population, the Japanese wine market was also threatened by alternative alcoholic drinks, with the proportion of Japanese regular wine drinkers consuming sake, Champagne and cider having “significantly increased”.

This is in contrast to still wine consumption, which “remains stable”.

Beyond red and white wine, a majority (84%) of Japanese regular wine drinkers also drink beer.

The market also faced the challenge of younger consumers not drinking wine as frequently as their counterparts, said the research.

However, the “open-minded attitudes” of younger Japanese wine consumers could benefit the category as they are more likely to try new styles of wine and have a wider varietal repertoire, said Wine Intelligence.

On another positive note, major multi-national sporting events, including the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Summer Olympics – set to provide a boost in tourism, provided an “exciting opportunity” for the Japanese wine industry.

Meanwhile the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which was signed 19 February 2019 in order to eliminate more than 90% of tariffs on Japan’s imports from the EU, is expected to boost trade in goods and services thus improving the position of EU wines.

The agreement could also provided benefits for Japanese wine producers who can now export to other EU countries, in turn increasing the presence of Japanese wine on a global scale.

It could however also prove a threat to the category, said Wine Intelligence, as Japanese wine producers may be unable to compete with EU wines at lower price points.