France produces 17% of world wines share cultivated on 10% of vineyards. World popularity came not only from produced quantity but laws, regulations, innovations and branding. Baron le Roy is initiator of l’Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (INAO), l’Appellation d’origine controlée (AOC – classification and categorization based on specific grape-growing geographical wine regions), l’Academie du vin de France and many other activities which made basis of wine regulations not only in France but in the world. Another French initiative was creation of national university diploma of oenology University of Montpellier in 1955, academically recognizing viniculture as a French culture with high importance. In 1978 Wine University is established in Suze-la-Rousse. French diplomacy plays important role branding French wine as ‘the best in the world’. With AOC regulations, Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Champagne and other French wine making regions were protected and recognized for its products authenticity. Champagne is for its taste and effervescence, combined with specific bottle shape and exclusive image, the first choice for toasts of all celebrations. Winston Churchill, who drunken 42.000 bottles of champagne during his lifetime, declared: ‘Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne.’
Name Champagne cannot be used for any other sparkling wine in the world than Champagne region and branding efforts forbidden name use for perfumes, non-alcohol drinks, cigarettes and other products than wine. With Champagne example, we understand how branding might be important to rise value, exclusiveness and conscience of single product.
In just several decades, France became a synonym of prestigious wine, achievement reached by continuous efforts of private, public and diplomatic sectors. They all have a common vision, making French wine the most exclusive and famous in the world. Not only millions of French wines and Champagne bottles are exported every year but wine industry also attracts tourists. In 2016, 10 million tourists visited French vineyards for total spending of 5 billion euros.
Japan traditionally produces rice wine, called Japanese sake or Nihonshu. Followed by fast growing popularity of Japanese cuisine in the world, Japanese sake also enjoys important fans increase in foreign markets. Is it possible someday Japanese sake become recognized in the world as French wine is today? Yes, Japan has a potential becoming Asian France for rice wine. For that, it would be necessary to have a clear vision on national level, set up laws and regulations to protect the originality of each product, project promotion and branding activities, and create conditions to welcome travellers in Japanese sake factories for visits and degustation. Whole project should be coordinated with collaboration of governmental and private sectors.
On July 6th 2017, EU and Japan reach in principle on Economic Partnership Agreement. This is the most important bilateral trade agreement ever conducted by the European Union. In coming years, we can expect increase of EU and French wines exports to Japan, as well as Japanese sake in France and other EU companies. Is the real development chance on Japanese sake side?