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Homegrown winemaker Invivo Wines has built early success in its Japanese export market using strong in-store presence and its strategy of regular face-to-face meetings with consumers.

For the Kiwi winemaking company, having a Japanese customer drive four hours to meet co-founder Rob Cameron is a good sign that small measures can lead to great events.

Cameron, Invivo cofounder and winemaker, visited Tokyo and Yokohama recently where he poured heaps of Invivo wine and got up close and personal with Japanese wine lovers. Together with the company’s Japanese distributor, Cameron hosted various wine tasting evenings, in-store retail tasting at Nissin store and National Azabu. In traditional Kiwi style, the company held a barbeque in the carpark of the National Azabu store.

The company was founded in 2008 and began selling wine in 2009 and by2011, has grown three-fold.

Co-founder Tim Lightbourne said since the company’s first shipment to Japan early in January this year, exports to Japan has been consistent and increasing in size steadily.

“We currently sell all our Invivo wines to Japan, included our low calorie/lower alcohol sauvignon blanc “Bella by Invivo” which is proving very popular.”

Although a new market for Invivo, Japan is proving to be an excellent prospect. Lightbourne says Japan has very good wine stores and consumers not only love NZ wine but are well educated about wine.

Having an enthusiastic distributor who understands Invivo’s strategy is one the factors of the company’s early success, according to Lightbourne.

He hopes to increase Invivo’s distribution channels in Japan in the trade sector (among bars and restraurants) and retail segment.

“We are working with consumers who enjoy our approachable wines and not concerned about the often unnecessary complexity that comes with some areas of wine industry.

“We will continue supporting the brand in-market, build strong in-store presence so we are not just another wine label on the shelf.”

Lightbourne says Invivo is also looking to align with local Japanese events and personalities that support Invivo’s strategy of working with creative industries.

Invivo exports to over 10 countries. In June 2011, the company won TNT Express’ Emerging Exporter of the Year award for its innovative marketing strategies.

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