중앙데일리

Wine drinking spurs drive for local wines

July 21,2007
As a growing number of wines from Chile, France, the United States and other overseas wine powerhouses are pouring into the Korean market, Korean farmers are scrambling to find a way to survive by developing their own made-in-Korea wines.
According to data from the Korea International Trade Association, Korea’s annual wine imports have grown more than 30 percent every year since 2001 to reach $70 million during the first half of this year, a sharp increase from just $40 million a year ago.
“Local grape farmers and the government have become more desperate after the Korea-Chile free trade agreement,” said Jeong Seok-tae, a researcher at the Grape Research Center under the state-run Rural Development Association. The government opened the center in 2005 to help develop new grape varieties for various uses, including wine production. “With all this foreign wine coming into the local market, the grape farmers are showing more interest in making their own wine,” Jeong said, adding that the number of large-scale grape farmers making wines rose from almost nothing to more than 30 in five years.
He said the research center tries to develop new grapes with more tannins and muscat flavor to help make grapes suitable for wine.
Wine, once rare here, has been widely accepted by Korean consumers in recent years, partly because of the 2003 Korea-Chile FTA, a growing number of local discounters selling wine at affordable prices and a mega-hit Japanese manga series called “Les Gouttes De Dieu (The Drops of God),” a story about one man’s quest for the best wine.
Korean-made wine sales amounted to only 5 billion won ($5.45 million) nationwide last year.
A growing number of local governments are trying to establish local wineries to compete against the imports, attract tourists and help local farmers.


By Jung Ha-won Staff Writer [hawon@joongang.co.kr]



dictionary dictionary | 프린트 메일로보내기 내블로그에 저장