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Wine and Women Korea celebrates one year

Mar 12,2007
Nicole Risse, left, and Catherine Germier-Hamel By Cho Jae-eun
More than a normal evening’s worth of wine glasses clinked through the night at the Novotel Ambassador Gangnam last Thursday. Over 250 people attended the one-year anniversary event of Wine and Women Korea. Guests sampled wines from Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and Korea, along with a buffet.
“Catherine came to us. She came to Korea and was looking for an opportunity to do something and presented this idea to us [the Europe-Korea Foundation],” said Nicole Risse, director of the Europe-Korea Foundation, the charity arm of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea. Catherine Germier-Hamel, co-founder of Wine and Women Korea alongside Ms. Risse, came with her diplomat husband to Korea in 2005. “She wanted to do something about wine; I like wine very much and so we said, ‘Why don’t we make an event?’” said Ms. Risse.
The single wine event on international women’s day (March 8) soon turned into a club, with a current member count of 270. It’s a non-profit organization which holds monthly meetings to educate women (although men are also welcome) on viticulture as well as giving back to charity causes.
“One of our goals is to improve relations between Europe and Korea. Wine is a very important part of European culture,” said Ms. Risse.
For the one-year anniversary event, the club chose Aeranwon, a local shelter for under-aged pregnant women and single mothers, as their official charity group.
The viticulture in Korea has changed drastically in the eyes of Ms. Risse. “Ten years ago, you couldn’t find a decent bottle of wine in Korea. Now, nicer wines and wines from many different countries are available. Even seven years ago, it was very difficult and very expensive to get wine in Korea,” she said. “But now you can get a decent bottle for a reasonable price, although there are still improvements to be made.”
“Women in general have a good palette, and I hope these kinds of events help Korea go forward in this culture [viticulture],” said Catherine Germier-Hamel.
The club plans to improve on its monthly seminars, called “Wine Focus,” in which a guest speaker speaks about wine. “We want to continue to provide the educational aspect of this culture, but we want to do other things as well, such as [hold] specific wine dinners for smaller groups so that we can combine food and wine, and maybe a wine tour ― hopefully one day, we can directly go to the wine regions and visit the wine makers.”


For more information, contact Wine and Women Korea at (02) 725-0381 or visit
http://ekf.or.kr.

By Cho Jae-eun Staff Writer [jainnie@joongang.co.kr]


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