eVineyard today announced that it will be the exclusive wine retailer serving the Japanese market through the online portal ShopUSA@nifty when the site launches on October 23, 2000. eVineyard will be taking orders and shipping wine by early November. "This is a very exciting opportunity for eVineyard," said Chief Marketing Officer Brett E. Lauter. "The Nifty partnership, the company's first foray into overseas sales, provides an unprecedented opportunity to reach one of the world's most wired shopping audiences in a country that has demonstrated its affinity for California and other wines." Nifty is the largest Internet provider in Japan, logging over 8 million unique visitors per month. Operated by Nifty Corp., the company is a fully owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Limited. The portal is expected to become a powerful driver for the high-profile U.S. companies on the site, where eVineyard is joined by L. L. Bean and Ashford.com, among others. In 1998, California wine exports to Japan grew 134% to $93 million. "If eVineyard can capture just one percent of that business, we will be very pleased with the results," said Tom Heller, eVineyard's VP of business development. In fact, the company hopes to capture even greater revenues in the market, where it will be distinguished by a selection of more than 1000 wines. The logistics for the wine exports are very straightforward according to Heller. Wines purchased through ShopUSA@nifty will be categorized in Japan as "personal imports," the criteria for which is an individual purchase of foreign manufactured goods directly through overseas mail-order companies, retail stores and manufacturers for personal use. Limitations of quantity are at Japanese Customs discretion, which typically is most concerned with ensuring that goods are not for resale. Wines will be shipped to Japan via airfreight from eVineyard's Hayward, California, logistic center. The recipients will be responsible for all applicable shipping charges and duties.