Suntory, a leading company of both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages industry in Japan, renewed their strategy for Japanese wines. This autumn, they launched a new brand called “SUNTORY FROM FARM”. Also, they will make large-scale investments to winery renewal and capital investment. The announcement was made by Suntory Wine International Ltd., which has recently merged into the newly established Suntory Spirits Ltd.
“Japanese wines” are defined as wines which are made exclusively from grapes grown in Japan. Although the sales volume of Japanese wines domestically has expanded approximately 1.5 times over the ten years from 2012 to 2021, it still accounts for less than 5% of the total wine market, as estimated by Suntory.
For this reason, Suntory concluded that there was a potential for growth in the “Japanese wine” market. They reassessed their strategy for Japanese wines and introduced a new concept ”SUNTORY FROM FARM, Water, Earth and Humans” , through which they intend to convey to consumers the appeal of “Japanese wines” from their vineyards.
Up to now, the product mix of Suntory’s Japanese wines were composed of three series: TOMI NO OKA WINERY, SHIOJIRI WINERY and JAPAN PREMIUM. (JAPAN PREMIUM Koshu 2019 won a gold award in Decanter World Wine Awards 2022.)
These three series are now integrated into the new brand “SUNTORY FROM FARM”, which was launched on 6th September. According to Suntory, this brand name expresses the charm of “Japanese wines”, as an alcoholic beverage which is made from grapes in the vineyards by winemakers who work in the Japanese climate and produce their wines with high skill and affection.
“SUNTORY FROM FARM” is composed of four series: Grape Variety,Terroir, Winery and Symbol. SUNTORY FROM FARM Grape Variety series’ purpose is to highlight “Koshu” and “Muscat Bailey A” which are unique Japanese varieties. The aforementioned JAPAN PREMIUM Koshu is taken over by SUNTORY FROM FARM Koshu. SUNTORY FROM FARM Terroir series is meant to present the characteristics of each grape growing area: Aomori, Yamagata and Nagano.
SUNTORY FROM FARM Winery series introduces high-quality wines from TOMI NO OKA WINERY and SHIOJIRI WINERY. The previous TOMI NO OKA WINERY series is taken over by SUNTORY FROM FARM TOMI NO OKA.
Finally, SUNTORY FROM FARM Symbol series represents the top of the brand. “TOMI” which is the top cuveé from TOMI NO OKA WINERY and “IWADAREHARA”, the top cuveé from SHIOJIRI WINERY are included in this series.
Furthermore, Suntory has renovated their TOMI NO OKA WINERY, which originally opened in 1909 and has a winemaking history of more than 100 years, by spending around 500 million Japanese yen (about US$ 3.4million). TOMI NO OKA WINERY has become a place where visitors can experience the blessings of nature and taste delicious wines, focusing on great skill and affection of its wine makers. For example, the wine shop has been refurbished to present a story of each wine and to display high quality wine making. In addition, a seminar room has been created where visitors can have a talk with the winemakers.
At the same time, Suntory will invest one billion Japanese yen (around US$ 6.9 million) to renew the equipment, such as press machines or fermentation tanks in TOMI NO OKA and SHIOJIRI wineries. This is aimed for the further improvement of the quality of wines and to increase the production capacity. Also, they will actively work on sustainable winemaking by utilizing unused farmland and taking measures to tackle climate change.
Through these strategies, Suntory’s sales volume of Japanese wines this year aims to achieve 59,000 cases, an increase of 11% from the previous year. In 2030, their target is 100,000 cases, which will double the result of 2020.