The Japanese market is currently experiencing its ‘seventh wine boom’ as a surge in affordable ‘new world wines’ fuels record levels of imports. In 2017, Japan was the sixth-largest wine importing country, totalling 284 million litres valued at A$2.2 billion.[iii]
Current trends suggest wine is becoming a mainstay consumption item of daily life in Japan, and is increasingly dominant on shelf space in supermarkets, convenience stores and izakaya (Japanese-style pubs).
Ienomi, or drinking at home, is also boosting wine sales through off-premise channels – particularly convenience stores – as the Japanese increasingly economise by consuming alcoholic beverages at home.[vii]
Encouraging signs in the market also stem from Japanese consumer tastes beginning to branch out to “organic, biodynamic and natural wines”, or wines with no artificial additives.[viii] [ix]
From 2006 to 2016, Australia enjoyed a stable position in the Japan market as the sixth most preferred source of wine.
However, in 2017, Australia took fifth position from the US and ranks only behind Chile, France, Italy and Spain in terms of volume. These six countries alone account for 90 per cent of all wine imports into Japan.
During this period, Chilean still wines and French sparkling wines significantly expanded their market share.[x]
Australia did enjoy notable niche gains in sparkling wines, which grew by 77.8 per cent between 2012 and 2017, since the seventh wine boom (see graph below), but overall Australia’s share has remained broadly stable.
For more information on Japan’s wine trade head here.