Dario Bergamini DipWSET

Dario was born in Trieste and after completing studies in Oriental Languages in Venice, he went to the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies for a one year exchange program. Upon returning to Italy he had his first job in the wine industry working for a winery in the Chianti Classico area in Tuscany.

This thirst for knowledge led him to undertake studies through The WSET then graduate with a Level 4 Diploma in 2014. After the experience in Tuscany he moved back to Japan, where he currently lives with his family. Following several years of cooperation with a Japanese importer of Italian wines, he eventually joined Ethica Wines in 2020.

Sophisticated importers, rigid wine writers and star sommeliers, how they set the wine market trends in Japan

Japan is Asia’s second largest wine market and the sixth largest importer of wine worldwide. For wineries wanting to export it represents a sophisticated market that is politically stable and one where long-term relationships are valued. It is a mature market with well-trained, knowledgeable and dedicated staff in the on and off-trade. Japan also boasts one of the most cultivated restaurant and bar scenes anywhere in the world. Japan’s top restaurants are destinations for gourmets from around the globe but especially from other Asian countries (in pre-pandemic times). As such they influence taste around the region. While Japanese wine consumers have traditionally been ‘Francophile’ the market is very broadminded and open to new or less well-known regions. Many of the more successful regions are supported by regional bodies / agencies who undertake local promotional activities. Key trends include sparkling wine, ‘low-intervention wines’, promotion of wine sets, changes in wine packaging. Experienced importers, many with decades of experience; dedicated wine writers, rather than ‘social media influencers’; and an army of trained sommeliers are among those who influence the market. All these positives need to be tempered by the knowledge that the aging population and deflation continue to constrain the market.