Did you know that one out of every three bottles of New Zealand wine sold in Japan are from just one brand? Our latest Jandal in Japan pops the cork on New Zealand wine in the Japanese market. Carl Robinson shares with us his 25+ years of experience and wisdom of working in all aspects of the Japanese wine market. Grab a glass of your favourite tipple and join us!
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In this episode we’ll spill the sparkling on:
How Carl went from being a musician, to working in a bean sprout factory in Kyushu to joining the wine industry in Tokyo in the 90s
What is so special about the market in Japan for food and beverage that New Zealand businesses can take advantage of
Carl’s recipe for success in the Japanese market and what you can do to emulate it
What Carl sees in the future of Japan and the wine industry in particular
Carl was born in Birkenhead, England and emigrated to Auckland New Zealand as a young child. He spent time in Auckland and London as a musician in a band. Carl lives in Tokyo with his wife Jeanette, a fellow Kiwi. Carl and Jeanette met at Auckland University and he came to Japan in 1991 for an extended honeymoon on a working holiday visa, first of all working in Kyushu, learning the language and getting immersed into Japanese culture. After another stint in London Carl attained his WSET wine qualifications and he and Jeanette both then returned to Japan in 1996 during a boom time for wines in Japan. Carl worked at Tokyo American Club (TAC) writing their wine program, training staff and was TAC’s wine buyer. He also taught the WSET wine course in Tokyo and wrote about wine for JAL inflight magazine and consulted to hotels for their wine lists. He created his own successful import company, Jeroboam in 2003 that celebrates 20 years in Japan in 2023. Carl now additionally heads up Cellar Door Aoyama, a Tokyo Fine wine Retailer and Restaurant and is CEO of Australasian wine importer Wine Diamonds and he also is part owner of Wine Diamonds New Zealand which imports, distributes and sells wine through its retail stores in Auckland and Wellington. Carl lives and breathes wine, and if there is anyone who knows about importing wine into Japan it’s Carl and he has deep insights to share on how to be successful in the land of the rising sun.