Viva il vino! Wine festival to celebrate Italian grapes

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Viva il vino! Wine festival to celebrate Italian grapes

If you're the type of wine lover who favors Italian vintages but confines yourself mainly to Chianti, an event for oenephiles next month may help broaden your tastes.

The Italian Trade Commission-Government Agency and the Korea Sommeliers Association have gotten together to host an Italian wine festival on Feb. 4 in the Grand Ballroom of the Seoul Hilton hotel. The all-day show, Borsa Vini 2002, will feature more than 40 Italian wine makers representing the many wine-growing regions in the Mediterranean country.

In addition to vintages from Tuscany, where Chianti is made, visitors will be able to sample wines from Piedmont, Veneto, Sicily, Lazio, Emilia Romagna and Trentino, among others. The corresponding vintners will also be seeking exporting opportunities.

Italian wine has been cherished since time immemorial for its distinctive taste, deriving from Italy's favorable geographical and climatic conditions. The history of Italian wine can be traced back 2,500 years, when ancient Greeks colonized the peninsula, and beyond.

According to industry figures, Italy produced 5.2 billion liters of wine in 2000, about 25 percent of which was exported. From January to November 2001, Korea imported some 570,000 bottles of Italian wine.

Along with the booming popularity in recent years of Italian food in Korea, especially among younger generations, sales of Italian wines are increasing.

The Italian trade agency pointed out that, in general, Koreans are familiar with relatively few Italian wines, so it hatched the idea for the exhibition to broaden the average Korean wine drinker's knowledge of Italy's many vintages.

In the past, the agency has been active in throwing wine tasting exhibitions on the peninsula. The Borsa Vini exhibition, after the local February show, will move on to Japan. If you want to attend the wine show you will need to arrange an invitation card in advance. Those without invitations will be unable to enter.

To get the invitation cards, visit www.iceseoul.co.kr/wine before Feb. 4 and complete the online application form. For further information call 02-779-0811~3. Also, at the Web site you can view a list of the wine makers participating in the exhibition.

by Lee Sang-joon

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