Every year, Japan hosts three of the largest trade shows in Asia for world’s beverage producers: FOODEX, FABEX and Drink JAPAN. For FOODEX Japan 2019, in four days, over 75,000 visitors from Japan alone came to the show to sample and appreciate traditional and new tastes and flavors from all over the world. This illustrates how savvy and demanding Japanese consumers are, as they are frequently introduced to world class choices, including those of wines, for their palates.
This poses a challenge for even experienced wine makers overseas to satisfy the Japanese taste buds and establish presence in the country with one of Asia’s highest disposable income.
Targeting high-income wine enthusiasts and investors, The Stella was conceived as an agent that curates, imports and introduces overseas cult wines to Japanese consumers.
The idea started materializing when Cyest’s Co-founder Kitamura was introduced by one of Cyest advisors to a seasoned sommelier, who later also joined Cyest’s roster of then 5,000 senior experts. The advisor, whose expertise was tempered in years spent working with family vintners in Napa Valley, California, helped connected Kitamura to a few local vineyard owners in 2017. The portfolio of California cult wine is also hand-selected to meet the Japanese palate by the same advisor, now Wine Director of The Stella.
After introducing the first batches of Napa Valley wine to the Japanese market, Kitamura was introduced to the idea of membership business model as he talked to former executive in retail and consumer goods sector. He then sought to form a team from senior experts to help him strategize and execute the idea in late 2018.
- Former Director of Private Banking at major foreign banks in Japan, who is well-versed in connecting with high-net-worth individuals.
- Former Director of Consumer Marketing and the head of subscription service model development for Japanese consumers at a multinational e-Commerce company.
The Stella’s member community has since started taking shape and recently reached its first milestone – 100 subscribers after a year of planning and hard work.
More about Cyest’s The Stella is available currently in Japanese here.
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