ad info


 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

CNN Websites
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines

 message boards




Use the pulldown menus to visit other Food Central sections:

California wines find growing market in Japan

A growing passion for California wine has erupted in Japan  
January 1, 1999
Web posted at: 12:45 p.m. EST (1745 GMT)

TOKYO (CNN) -- While many U.S. exports are suffering from the tough economic times in Japan, imports of California wine to the country increased 242 percent in 1998.

The growing acceptance of California wines by Japanese has not been hindered by the country's economic woes -- and may have even been boosted by the financial doldrums.

Many California wineries are pushing moderately priced varieties, ranging from $8 to $25, to the Japanese market, making them affordable to price-conscious consumers.

"People don't eat out as much anymore," said one wine importer in Japan. "And when they eat at home, they're drinking wine."

wine shop
Wine consumption in the home has skyrocketed  

The appetite for wine really took off in Japan in 1997, after a number of television shows played up the advantages of red wine. A new TV series called "Sommelier" features a teen-age heartthrob playing the lead role of a wine expert.

"We used to drink Japanese vodka with our friends," said one Japanese convert. "But we recently switched to wine -- especially red wine -- after we heard it's good for your health."

For years, California vintners have been marketing their products in Japan, and now their efforts appear to be paying off.

"In the past, French wine had a luxurious image, while Californian was thought to be cheap, in terms of price and taste. But people are looking at other labels now, including those from California," said one Japanese wine fan.

 WINE 101:
  • Wine Labels -- Learn how to read them.
  • Wine Prices -- Find out how much you'll pay.
  • Wine Varietals -- Use our glossary.
  • Alcoholic Drinks - Compare the nutritional value of wine against other alcoholic beverages.
  • Quick Facts - Take a look at the origin of alcohol and guidelines for safe consumption.
  • Alcoholism - Examine the medical issues surrounding alcoholism.
  • "Japan is a market we started targeting in 1980-81, so we've been working on it for 18 years in a major way," said Eric Wente of Wente Winery in California.

    Wente said it has increased its exports to Japan from 7,000 cases in 1997 to more than 13,000 in 1998.

    "People are becoming more and more comfortable with brand names on California wines and, as a result, as an industry we've seen our numbers increase to almost 5 percent of the total global wine market," said John Scwartz of Wente Winery.

    Tokyo Bureau Chief Marina Kamimura and Correspondent Rusty Dornin contributed to this report.

    Related stories:
    Texas cattle quarantined after violation of mad-cow feed ban
    Spago Hollywood closing its doors
    A low-fat standby
    Yogurt: Got culture?
    Super shrimp for a Super Bowl barbecue
    Related sites:

    Note: Pages will open in a new browser window

    External sites are not
    endorsed by CNN Interactive.

    Enter keyword(s)   go    help


    Back to the top
    © 2000 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
    Terms under which this service is provided to you.
    Read our privacy guidelines.