Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Our Man in Japan

Yesterday was one of the hardest days I have worked in a long time!  We participated in the New Zealand Winegrowers Toko Wine Fair, and the turnout was exceptional. There was a trade tasting first, from 12.30 to 5.00pm, than a short break, followed by a consumer tasting from 6.30 to 9.00pm. There were over 400 people at each event, tasters were often 2 or 3 deep in front of our stand, there was the excitement of working in a language we had little knowledge of, we were on our feet all that time, and no time for coffee or a snack - so, don't let anyone tell me that travelling and promoting wine is a junket!!

That said, while it was a very long day, it reminded me of the need to be out talking to all our customers worldwide. This event gave us the opportunity to present our wines to customers directly and to start continue building a bond with them. The wines were extremely well received and our importer Pony Group Inc has indicated they will add another 2 wines (Pinot Gris, Martinborough Pinot Noir or Syrah) to the two they already carry (Fraser and Blue Rock Pinot Noirs), so that was a great outcome. We have worked with the Pony company for about a year now and we could not wish for a better partner. A great hard working team, organised and capable of selling premium wines in a challenging market. Mr Wada is the sales manager (here in the photo on the left) and he is very supportive of our wines. We also had assistance from one of the Pony team as at each session and that was invaluable for someone whose Japanes does not go much further than 'konichiwa'. Tomoko (in the photo below) helped us in the morning session and one of her colleagues did the same in the evening session.

We found the Japanese public to be highly knowledgable about wines, and very keen to taste new releases from New Zealand and I am really enthusiastic about the prospects for our wines here. We presented the 'Fraser', 'Blue Rock' and 'Martinborough' Pinot Noirs, the Pinot Gris and the Syrah. What really motivated were the large number of people who came back later in the day and said our wines were among the best they had tasted at the show.

Tonight and tomorrow we have wine and food match dinners at Tokyo restaurants, then a few days break before we move onto Korea, so watch this space for more on our Asian sales adventures.