According to the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX) Japan is currently the fifth-leading consumer of cava and is the leader in Asia in terms of consumption, 7.8 million bottles were exported to Japan in 2016 – an increase of 15% from 2015.
“Asia is one of the strongest global markets for cava overall,” said Roman Linert who heads up Codorniu Raventos group for Asia and is based in Singapore.
“But Japan has been one of our oldest markets for Codorniu. It’s been there for 40 years. The consumers love the taste as it’s similar to Champagne in flavours and production methods and it goes extremely well with elements of Japanese cuisine.”
Codorniu Raventos currently exports around 690,000 cases of cava in Japan but is also active in other Asian markets including Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
The group eyes Asia as one of its most lucrative markets and has invested in offices in Singapore, Japan and China but Linert said he still considers Codorniu a “relatively small player” on the Asia scene.
“We only started in China around four to six years ago and the Spanish wine category overall is not that big. Also consumers in Asia have a huge choice because they can get whatever they like here.”
Although Codorniu Raventos comprises 60 brands, for the Asia market Linert concentrates on the group’s Vina Pomal Rioja, its Scala Dei old-vine Garnacha from Priorat, Legaris in Ribero del Duero and Cordorniu cava.
“Our role is to elevate the Spanish category from cheap brands and telling Spain’s story,” he said.
“There are some amazing wines in Spain but it’s introducing their quality to customers.Our ageing designations, reserva and gran reserva tells you for example that there is a certain amount of effort and capital tied up with our bottle ageing.
“And for Priorat, everything is 100% hand-harvested; there’s a certain level of perfection which comes with Spanish wine.”
Origin information: The Drink Business