Well grilled beef steak served with red wine, and fish dishes served with white wine. In the perception of many people, wine was an expensive foreign alcohol that people drunk to try and create a romantic and luxurious atmosphere. At some point, however, wines that cost under \ 10,000 became available and popular. In addition, as a conglomerate has cooperated with a domestic winery and launched new wine, the interest in domestic wine has seemed to increase, since foreign wines have occupied most of the wine market in Korea until now. Therefore, the Sungkyun times (SKT) explains the popularity of the wine market, new wine trends, and introduces domestic wine, with the hope of raising Kingos’ interest in the beverage.
Current State of the Korean Wine Market
In the Past, many people thought that wine was such a sophisticated alcohol. “You should grab the glass elegantly by the stem, turn the glass, and enjoy the fragrance of it” or “slowly put wine in your mouth and enjoy the taste of the wine before swallowing”. These are some tips we know we should consider when drinking wine. However, there are many conditions written on the labels to consider before drinking, such as the varieties of grapes, place of production, and the year of bottling. The current wine market and culture has changed a lot. The first change was that it became much easier to purchase wines. As wine became more popular, we could easily buy wines in large markets or wine warehouses. The second change was the cheaper price of wines. Since wine stores and markets import wine directly from wineries in other countries, the price bubble that occurred during the process of distribution disappeared. There are even some wines that are sold for less than \5,000 or at almost 70% lower than the price suggested by the import companies. Additionally, as many consumers look for cost-saving products, the popularity of cheaper wines has increased rapidly. According to E-mart, one of the biggest supermarket chains in Korea, over 1 million bottles of cheaper wines were sold every year for the past three years, and this is over half of all wine sales.
Popularization of Wine in Korea
As the wine market has changed, the culture associated with wine has also changed.
Wine in Media
Through the official homepage of the drama Drinking Solo, the actress Hwangwoo Seul-Hye posted a video of herself drinking wine after work. It was very interesting because she comfortably drank wine with a soju glass. She said that it is more fun to drink wine with a soju glass than to drink with a wine glass, because you can drink it faster and clink the glass when drinking with others. Her drinking wine with dakbal, which is spicy chicken feet, was also impressive since it is not a familiar food to serve with wine. Another example of the popularization of wine shown in the media was in the entertainment program I Live Alone. In this program, the famous Korean model Han Hye-Jin drank packaged wine with eel. The wine she drank was Italia One glass Wine, which was designed in packaging to allow people to enjoy just one glass of delicious wine anywhere: such as at home, at a camp site, or in the park. It has been a very sensational product in Korea and made younger consumers in their 20s and 30s get more interested in wine. These interests resulted in a higher volume of sales in Korea; only 2,000 packs were sold right after it was released, but as interest increased, over 20,000 packs have been sold over the past 3 months.
|Italian Oneglass Wine, Containing 100ml of Delicious Wine / oneglass.kr|
Wine in Our Daily Lives
In cafes like A Twosome Place, Slow Step and many others, they have started to sell vin chaud and sangria as part of their seasonal menus or ordinary menus. Vin chaud is authentic French, warm wine made with cinnamon, oranges, apples, and many other fruits in warm red wine. With this idea in mind, cafes provide consumers with a nonalcohol vin chaud so that people are free to drink it anytime in winter. Sangria is a cold wine drink made with fruits, juice, and soda in red wine. Since sangria has low-alcohol and is quite sweet, it became a drink that can be served with a number of varieties of food. According to a beverage industry official, as wines become more popular, the markets of vin chaud and sangria are also expected to grow.
Those two drinks can also be made at home with this simple recipe:
|Vin Chuad, a Hot wine Drink With Fruits and Cinnamon / etoday.co.kr|
Ingredients : 1 bottle of red wine, 1 apple, 2 tangerines, 1/2 grapefruit, 1 lemon, 5 cloves, 3 cinnamon sticks, 1 or 2 cups of grape juice, a little sugar or honey ❶ Put all of the fruit in water mixed with vinegar, wash until clean and slice them. ❷ Put the fruit in the pot and pour enough wine or grape juice to sink all of the fruit. ❸ Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes at a medium heat and then turn off the heat when you start to smell the scent of fruit. ❹ Put cinnamon sticks into the wine and drink after at least two to three hours of brewing. ❺ If you want to drink cool vin chaud, keep it in the refrigerator, or if you want a warm drink, heat it to about about 70℃.
As well as at home, a tool that helps to enjoy wine during outdoor events like camping was introduced by Boso Korea, a company that makes products for wine. Supplementing the disadvantages of existing wine glasses which are fragile and inconvenient to carry, it is convenient to use and hygienic. This glass has a variable structure so that the bowl and the stem of the glass are separable and easily combined by a magnet.
Varieties of Domestic Wines
Along with the increasing interest in wine, the size of the Korean wine market grew to \440 billion. Among this huge market, the proportion of domestic wine is less than 5% because most wines are still imported from representative countries of wine such as Spain, Chile, Italy, and France. According to the Korea Customs Service, the amount of wine imported, steadily increased over the last 3 years, starting from $182 million in 2014 to $190 million in 2016. The interest in domestic wine, however, seems to have risen more since a major company launched a cost-saving domestic wine. Therefore, SKT now introduces some places to enjoy domestic wines and have special experiences.
Cave de VIN
Cave de VIN is a place in Gwangmyeong that gathers and sells about 170 kinds of domestic wines. It was originally a gold and silver mine until the 1970s. As the mine became abandoned, however, the city remodeled the mine to include stages for performances and a wine showroom. Stories about wine, such as their histories, production areas, bottles, festivals, production processes, and wine labels are exhibited. Moreover, the visitors can sample a few domestic wines made in other cities. Even though wines are not produced in Gwangmyeong, Cave de VIN acts as a natural wine storage since the temperature inside the cave is kept at around twelve degrees throughout the year. As visitors come to take a look at the cave and the wines, it works as a way to advertise and sell domestic wines which are high quality but have had low sales due to the inconvenience of distribution. Additionally, it has signed cooperation agreements to support the wine producers with twenty-seven local governments and wineries that produce wine.
|Cave De VIN, Located in Gwangmyeong / ohmynews.com|
The Sanmeoru Farm in Paju is a place that makes wine with Korean wild grapes. It is famous for its 72m, underground tunnel that is used to store oak barrels and jars filled with wines. For tourists, there are activities like pouring wine in a bottle and putting their own label on it, or making Korean wild grape jam. Additionally, there is also
a personal wine cellar that keeps customers’ wines for long periods of time. By attracting tourists with unique activities, the farm sells wine on-site. In general markets, there are numerous famous foreign wines selling at a low price, making it difficult for domestic wines to enter the market. By attracting more than 60,000 visitors every year, however, the sales of wines have improved.
Visit to Sanmeoru Farm & Interview with a wine Representative
In order to increase Kingos’ interest in domestic wine, the Sungkyun Times visited Sanmeoru Farm and interviewed a representative of the farm. It became a good opportunity to listen and learn more about domestic wines.
|Woo Suk Seo, the Representative of Sanmeoru Farm|
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Seo Woo-Suk, a representative at Sanmeoru Farm . I was a farmer for my entire life, and will be a farmer until the end of my life.
Why did you decide to make Korean wild grape wine?
Originally I was a breeder of black goats and the reason I moved to Paju was to raise black goats on this mountain. One day, while I put my black goats out to pasture, I saw a few bunches of Korean wild grapes on the mountain. At that time, I simply thought that they looked delicious, but my thoughts changed and I decided that if wild grapes that grow naturally look appetizing, they would be much better if I took them and grew them with my careful attention. Therefore, I started to grow Korean wild berries and became the first person to cultivate wild grapes in Korea. Then, to make the sales available for an entire year, not only for the season when wild grapes are harvested, I started to make many products like wines and jams.
What are the characteristics of Korean wild grape wine that make it different from other foreign wines?
First of all, Korean wild grapes have a much sweeter taste and fragrance than foreign grapes. Therefore, when we make wine with wild grapes, it has a slightly different fragrance and feeling when swallowing. Additionally, Korean wild grapes are much healthier than ordinary grapes. According to research by a professor at Korea University, wild grapes have three times more anthocyanin, which is famous for its anti-cancer effect, than other grapes. This means that wines made with Korean wild grapes can be much healthier than ordinary wines.
|Visitors Containing Korean Wild Grape Wine in Bottle|
Was there any special effort made to promote Korean wild grape wine?
The most important marketing strategy was to invite consumers to the farm. When I first launched Meoru de Seo , I released the wild grape wines from my farm to many big markets, but they didn’t sell well. To solve the problem, I thought of a marketing strategy and decided to make consumers come to the farm. Therefore, I started to make many programs that the consumer can enjoy such as making wines and jams themselves, taking a look at the farm and the whole factory, and having a good time at the camp site near the wild grape farm. Through these efforts, more than 60 thousand visitors come to our farm every year and the sales of wine and other products have increased.
Any last words for the SKKU Kingos?
People used to think that wines from foreign countries were better than domestic wines simply because they were famous internationally. Of course foreign wines are famous with their long history and delicious taste. What I want to say is that Korean domestic wines are also delicious with their own taste, which is different from foreign wines. Farmers working in wineries all over the country, including me, are trying hard to develop Korean wines. I hope the consumers have an open mind and try Korean domestic wines for once, and I can surely say that they will be satisfied.
<저작권자 © THE SUNGKYUN TIMES, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>