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Move over Beaujolais, it’s makgeolli time

Nov 13,2009

In many parts of the world, fall means the first French wine of the year: the young, tasty Beaujolais nouveau. But a competitor to this sweet seasonal treat has arisen: makgeolli nouveau, a term being used to market traditional Korean wine made from the first rice harvest of the season.

And according to local department stores, makgeolli nouveau has been even more popular here than its French namesake.

Korea’s largest department store chain, Lotte Department Store, started accepting preorders on Nov. 6 for the new Gamak 2009, a makgeolli nouveau brand made from the very first rice of the year and packaged in fancy wine bottles, and the chain’s main branches across Seoul sold reservations for 652 bottles over the following six days.

The same stores managed to turn in just 320 bottles in Beaujolais nouveau orders since it started accepting them on Oct. 26.

Lotte’s smaller rival Hyundai Department Store reported a similar trend. Between Nov. 6, when the chain’s seven stores in the Seoul metropolitan region began accepting orders, and Nov. 10, customers reserved 620 bottles of Gamak 2009 compared to 206 orders for Beaujolais.

Shinsegae Department Store said it sold nearly 1,000 bottles of makgeolli nouveau from Nov. 6 to 10, compared to about 200 bottles of the French wine during the same period.


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



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