Shigeru Hayashi lived in Italy for 13 years and has been doing business with Italy for 38 years. After returning to Japan, he was in charge of importing Italian food products into his country. During his second time in Italy as head of the Italian representative office of Suntory Ltd., he focused on wine and food products and became involved in the trade of these products between Italy and Japan.
In 1995, he became the first Japanese professional sommelier (AIS) in Italy and later received various awards, including the Caterina De’ Medici International Prize, the Maria Luigia International Prize and the Barbi Colombini International Prize for his work in promoting Italian food culture around the world.
Returning to Japan, he was president of Eataly Japan from 2008 to 2015, managing the import and sale of many Italian food products of excellence. Over the years, he has passed on his passion and experience for Italian wines and food through numerous publications, the latest of which in 2019 is entitled “Italian Wine and Japanese Cuisine”.
From 2005, he also founded Solo Italia, his consulting company through which he strives to promote Italian wine in Japan and to act as a bridge between Italian producers and the Japanese market.