Chile is giving France a run for its money as Japanese women increasingly plump for Chile’s fruit-driven and reasonably priced wine over its French counterparts.
According to Bloomberg, in 2015 Chile reportedly overtook France as Japan’s chief wine supplier where its reasonably priced wine often ends up in the supermarkets and off-licenses where Japanese women like to shop.
One of Chile’s biggest wine companies, Concha y Toro saw a 24% jump in its third quarter sales to Japan in November 2016, with the US Department of Agriculture reporting that the average value of Chilean wine was US$2.97 per litre, compared to US$9.74 for wines from the US and US$7.95 for French wine.
Naoka Kuga of the NLI Research Institute in Tokyo attributed the increase in popularity of Chilean wine to the growing numbers of women in the workforce who have higher disposable incomes and are financially independent, as opposed to women who stay at home.
“Women drink more as their participation in the labor market is increasing, and their disposable incomes are expanding,” she said.
“This trend works positively for wine consumption.”
Yumi Tanabe, who founded the Japan Women’s Wine Awards in 2014 to highlight females in the industry said she was trying to boost per-capita consumption in the lead up to 2020.
Her father, Kaneyasu Marutani, founded Japan’s first public winery in Hokkaido 54 years ago and Tanabe described how women’s palates are diversifying as their wine knowledge increases.
“Japanese favoured French wine for a long time, but the trend is changing,” she said. “Chilean wine is seen by Japanese as affordable and tasty to drink.”
According to London-based Euromonitor, tariffs on Chilean wine will gradually decrease to zero by 2019 from 4.6% in 2015, giving it a major competitive advantage over other countries.
Sake is still the dominant wine consumed in Japan, though sales volumes haven’t increased since 2011, Euromonitor also found.
Japan’s Agricultural Ministry also revealed that Japan imported 74.6 million litres of Chilean wine last year leading up to November, compared to 57.7 million litres from France.