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Sparkling winemaker Black Chalk secures distribution in Japan

English sparkling wine producer Black Chalk has taken a major step in its expansion journey after securing distribution in Japan. 

The move was driven by Black Chalk director and investor Kenya Matsumoto, who owns two London-based Japanese restaurants and is behind Frontive Holdings, the agency which will be responsible for securing distribution for Black Chalk.

The winemaker says it will invest significantly in the Japanese market - the second largest market for sparkling wine - and will put a dedicated team in place in Tokyo. In the long term, it hopes that Frontive Holdings will become a gateway to other key Asian markets including China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. 

Black Chalk has already secured listings in Michelin-starred restaurants in Japan including Kikunoi and Gion Kawakami in Kyoto, Sushi Sho in Tokyo, and Nakashima in Hiroshima, as well as in luxury department stores Mitsukoshi-Isetan in Tokyo and Hankyu in Osaka. 

The first shipment of Black Chalk, including its 2015 Classic and the soon-to-be-released 2017 Wild Rose, will arrive in Japan in August in time for the Autumn UK trade fairs in Tokyo and Osaka.

The Japanese distribution follows a series of expansions for Black Chalk in the past year, including opening a tasting room and shop, the acquisition of four vineyard sites in Hampshire's Test Valley, and starting to build a new winery.

Black Chalk winemaker and chief executive Jacob Leadley said: "We have prioritised Japan as our target export market from the outset. There is such a strong synergy between English sparkling wine and Japanese cuisine, and Japan is a market where quality, boutique brands are very highly rated."

7 August 2020 - Bethany Whymark