The traditional alcoholic drink in Japan is Sake (rice-based wine). However, beer leads the alcohol market, followed by spirits. The consumption of grape based-wine has increased in the last few years. Despite this, its share in the alcohol consumption is still small, accounting for less than 4% of the overall sales.
As a consequence of the tradition started by French wines, almost 60% of still wines consumed by the Japanese are red. Though, whites and rosés have showed a great growth in the last years.
The wine market in Japan is very competitive with a significant presence of wines from the new world. French products lead the market, with 50% of share in value and one third in volume, in 2012, according to the International Trade Center. The share in turnover is considerably higher than in volume because the price of French wines is really high. France is followed, in terms of presence in the wine market, by Italy, Chile, and Spain.
Among the wines from the New World, Chilean products stand out, with an increasing presence in the market, establishing as the third wine-importing country in Japan by volume, during the past five years. It is important to highlight that a great part of its success is the result of the free trade agreement that is reducing progressively the import tariffs lately.
Argentina is in eighth place in Japan’s imports of wine in containers holding up to 2 liters, with a share of 1.3% by value and 1.8% by volume, in the ranking ‘by country of origin in 2012’, according to the International Trade Center, Moreover, the import price of Argentine wines has been always lower than the average import price of Japan.
The exports of Argentine wine to Japan show an upward trend in turnover in the last years, attaining in 2012 USD 15 million, the record of the past 8 years. In relation to the volume, there was a drop in 2009 and 2010, due to the financial crisis, but a recovery as from 2011. In 2012, the total volume exported was 5.7 million liters. On the other hand, exports of Argentine packaged wine amounted to USD 13 million and 3.5 million liters in 2012, according to data from INV (National Institute of Viticulture). This way, Japan is the twelfth most important destination country by value.
In the total amount of the first half of the year, the exports of packaged wine have dropped in terms of both volume and turnover by 13% and 16% respectively, compared with 2012. Bulk wine exports also show a downturn, according to INV’s data.