'Increasingly adventurous' Japanese welcome different wine styles
As the harbinger of good news from Japan, research firm Wine Intelligence said the data utilized in its new Japan Wine Landscape Report 2014 showed "several encouraging trends" in the nation's 35m case per year wine market, where imported wine accounts for more than two thirds of sales.
As well as becoming more experimental, consumers are drinking more - the percentage who drink wine every day or most days has almost doubled to 11% over the past two period.
However, the percentage of consumers who feel confident in their wine knowledge remains low at 12%, but is still up 4% compared to a survey run using Wine Intelligence's Vinitrac system in 2012.
Despite a reputation for conservatism, Wine Intelligence said that more consumers are buying wine from online retailers or specialist wine shops, although the market is still dominated by large grocery chains
Wine Intelligence reports that more consumers (41%) are influenced by shop recommendations than in 2012 (36%).
But Wine Intelligence chief operating officer Richard Halstead said that despite its status as a growth market for wine Japan still presents some problems.
“The Japanese already consume twice as much wine, per capita, as the Chinese and we still class Japan as a growth market for wine," he said.
“Japan’s economic recovery remains fragile, and longer term the country’s ageing population presents challenges to wine exporters," Halstead added.
“But our consumer research provides plenty of positives. Around a third of Japanese wine drinkers can be described as ‘high involvement’ and there are clear signs that there is more growth to come," he said.