Jerez Chamber of Commerce yesterday brought Jerez companies a step closer to the Japanese market. Some 40 Jerez businesses attended the meeting as well as Juan Núñez Moreno, director of the Confederation of Businesses in Cádiz and Kentaro Naruse, director of Jetro Madrid, a Japanese governmental organisation to promote trade between Spain and Japan.
Naruse said that what the Japanese market wants is diversity and quality of products. Three Jerez companies with much experience in Japan were called upon to talk about their experience to encourage small and medium-sized companies to get involved with export: Estévez, Williams & Humbert and Productos Majuelo. The latter makes an up-market range of sauces, vinegars, salt etc.
The three companies explained the rigour and faithfulness of the Japanese market. It is very difficult to get into, so when neighbouring countries see goods going to Japan, they see this as a guarantee that they also should import them. Joaquín Gómez of Majuelo said that this allowed them access to the Australian and New Zealand markets. Buyers saw our products in Japan and knew they must be good and therefore worth importing themselves.
Williams & Humbert operations director Rafael Medina said that they had been exporting Sherry to Japan for 25 years. He said it was easier to deal with small and medium-sized wholesalers or intermediaries who can sell to the smaller people. Guillermo Arce, brand development director at Estévez, said that Japan is our most important Asiatic market for bottled wine. We have been there for many years and have a very wide range of consumers, from big corporations with huge consumption to the gourmet market which takes the best the bodega can offer, specialised demanding consumers who are happy to pay for the best. Our best sellers in Japan are Fino and Manzanilla. There has been a boom in Sherry bars and Tapas bars which suits us very well as they act as our ambassadors. I have been to Sherry bars there which have the best list of Sherries anywhere.