South Australia toasts early success in Japan’s global wine club

16 Mar 2023
South Australian wine brands are being stocked on Japanese shelves for the first time through a State Government initiative to open global trade markets for local producers.
The South Australian Wine Ambassadors Club (SAWAC) – which provides a central platform for local producers to connect with key Japanese importers and retailers – launched its Japan chapter at Wine Australia’s Tokyo Trade Tasting Event during the Government’s trade mission last year.
After only six months, the initiative has already helped half a dozen new wine brands break into the Japan market:
  • Ox Hardy (McLaren Vale) 
  • Barratt (Adelaide Hills) 
  • K1 Wines (Adelaide Hills)
  • Metala Wines (Langhorne Creek) 
  • Miss Zilm (Clare Valley) 
  • Litharian Wines (Multi-regional)

Japanese importers and retailers act as global ambassadors for the Club to drive the deals. There are six SAWAC ambassadors and two honorary ambassadors in Japan: Colonial Trade K.K., Grape Off K.K., Kiwa Corporation, Selesta Co, Hakurai Wine Trading Co, A-Trading and honorary members Vintage Cellars and Farmstone.
Minister for Trade and Investment Nick Champion met with SAWAC ambassadors in Japan this week to acknowledge their important roles in driving recent growth as they build long-lasting relationships with local wine producers.
A growing interest in SA wine in Japan is reflected in latest ABS figures, which show the State’s wine exports to Japan increased by 17 per cent in the 12 months to January 2023, with a value of $25.2 million. 
Earlier this month, McLaren Vale-based Bec Hardy Wines also secured its first order with major Singapore retailer Little Farms, proving the SAWAC to be delivering on increasing South Australian wines’ global footprint.
Led by patrons and renowned wine authorities, James Halliday AM and Tony Love, SAWAC’s membership consists of 43 wine importers, committed to promoting an estimated 90 new-to-market wines over the next two years.
The importers are tasked with driving sales and raising the global profile of South Australian wine in six key markets: Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, India and New Zealand.
This complements the State Government’s launch of a dedicated ‘Tasting South Australia’ page on Japan’s largest online e-commerce site Rakuten, which boasts more than 100 million users in Japan.