Words by Mark Driver
Sarah and I have just returned from a two-week trip around Asia, where we launched our wines in Japan and China. We experienced the most extraordinary reception to our wines in every city we have visited – Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Seoul and Hong Kong.
We presented our wines to our distributor’s experienced sales teams in Japan, China and Hong Kong, as well as to sommeliers in various Michelin-starred restaurants and top bars. We attended two trade tastings in Japan and several consumer events, and we were bowled over by the reception that the wines received. One of the most respected wine critics in Japan, himself an International Wine Challenge (IWC) judge, wrote a review saying that, in the last 10 years he has never been so surprised about the quality of a new wine. He wrote that ‘Rathfinny Estate is undoubtedly one of the best English sparkling wines. When I tasted it for the first time, I was struck by the quality and restrained elegance of the wine.’
Something that excited us most of all was how delicious the wines tasted alongside Asian cuisine. The talented wine professionals that we met with often remarked how unique the salinity in our Sussex Sparkling wines are due to our close proximity to the sea. This trip has really given both of us a huge boost of confidence in our wines!
Whilst Sarah was presenting our wines to sommeliers in the southern Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen, I went on a flying visit to Seoul to present to a new importer in South Korea, who we plan to launch our wines with early in the new year.
Overall, it was the most successful trip, and we hope to follow this up with an official launch in South Korea and Tokyo next year. We have also started working with an importer in Thailand and samples are on their way to Vietnam. There’s so much more to come…
Kanpai to Asia Pacific!