As wine grows increasingly more popular in Japan, the competition has become tighter across the board. For Viña San Esteban CEO Horacio Vicente, the 45-year-old family business is ready to take on the challenge.

“Competition is only natural in the industry because people treat it like traveling. When people go to the store, they like sampling and experiencing new varieties, allowing small wineries to compete with larger, established names,” Vicente said.

To distinguish itself, Viña San Esteban must focus on the quality of its wines, an objective that Vicente can achieve given his long experience in the business.

“Our family business was created by my father, who was a grape seller to different wine producers 45 years ago, and I started picking grapes when I was 15,” he recalled.

It was in the 1990s when the family decided to begin producing wine in bulk, and in 1997, it started bottling and exporting all their production.

Given its strategy, Vicente sees Japan as the perfect fit, “We initially saw Asia as a growing market with huge growth potential.” Viña San Esteban has adopted the quality standards in Japan as the company’s own.

“We also deeply appreciate the partnerships that we’ve formed in the country, including that with Japanese distributor Overseas Inc. We learn a lot from them and want to grow together in the market,” he said.