This year's Beaujolais Nouveau went on sale in Japan on Thursday with a more demure reception amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Companies have latched onto consumers' cravings for high-end items as they stay at home to avoid infections, and internet orders for the young French wine surged.
The vintage from the Beaujolais region was sent to Japan earlier than usual, given slower transportation due to the reduction in the number of flights between France and Japan, Mercian Corp., a unit of beer maker Kirin Holdings Co., said.
The volume of imports has continued a downward trend since 2013. Mercian said it lined up products with more focus on health-conscious consumers.
Department store operator Sogo & Seibu Co. said internet orders for Beaujolais Nouveau increased about 1.7 times from last year, and that the average price rose 15%.
Asahi Breweries Ltd. also sees hope in high-end products. It is aiming to sell 4,000 bottles of wine at around ¥6,000 each made from grapes from trees with an average age of 80 years.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.
Your news needs your support
Since the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis, The Japan Times has been providing free access to crucial news on the impact of the novel coronavirus as well as practical information about how to cope with the pandemic. Please consider subscribing today so we can continue offering you up-to-date, in-depth news about Japan.