Suntory to sell Japanese wines in China


The Japan drinks group Suntory intends to sell its premium range of Japanese wines in China, said the head of the group.

Image: Tomi no Oka wines presented at Hong Kong Vinexpo
Image: Tomi no Oka wines presented at Hong Kong Vinexpo

Suntory plans to sell its premium Tomi no Oka range, which is produced in the Yamanashi county of Japan, through ASC Fine Wines in high-end Japanese restaurants in Hong Kong and Mainland China.

Quality Japanese wines, especially white wines from Yamanashi, have started to show their presence in the international market. A white wine from the Grace winery, which was made 100% from the Japanese indigenous white grape variety Koshu, won the first regional trophy for Japanese wines in the 2013 Decanter Asia Wine Awards, with more award winners appearing in the following Decanter competitions.

The Tomi no Oka range to be sold in Greater China includes a white wine made from the Japanese indigenous white grape variety Koshu (‘Tomi No Oka koshu’, 28 USD per bottle in Japan) and a Chardonnay (‘Tomi White’, 80 USD per bottle). The red wines include the winery’s signature red wine Tomi Red (100 USD per bottle) - a blend of Merlot and Petit Verdot, according to the group.

‘The amount of wine produced by Tomi No Oka is limited. We only have a small allocation (to sell),’ said Bruno Baudry, CEO of ASC Fine Wines, adding that the Suntory-owned importer is looking to sell these wines ‘exclusively on-trade’; namely premium Japanese restaurants in Hong Kong and the first-tier cities in Mainland China.

The high costs of land and labour are among the reasons behind the comparatively higher price of Japanese premium wines, Yuji Yamazaki, president of Suntory Wine International Limited and Managing Executive Officer of Suntory Holdings Limited, told

Suntory started to promote its domestic wine range outside Japan since last year, with the debut of the Tomi No Oka range in Singapore, said Yamasaki.

Although these wines are likely to be sold at double the retail price than in the domestic market, the group expects high-end diners in Greater China to enjoy pairing Japanese food with these Japanese wines, said Yamasaki.

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