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Newest trend preserves vineyards

‘It is a major trend hitting the market in Europe and other countries, including Korea.’
Feb 16,2017
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Natural winemakers came to Korea to introduce why they make their wine without additional chemicals. From left: Lapalu Jean-Claude of the winery of the same name, Fabien Jouves of Mas Del Perie, Valentin Montanet of Domaine de La Cadette, Alexandre Bain of the winery of the same name, and Clementine Bouveron of Azienda Agricola Le Coste each hold two of their wines at the Salon O event held in Seoul yesterday. [LEE SUN-MIN]
Just as many diners try to avoid eating food with too many additives, a movement among winemakers and drinkers to keep wine as pure as possible has spread across the world.

Responding to growing global interest in “natural wine” and providing Korean consumers a chance to experience the new trend, one local agency Vinofeel, which specializes in natural wines, held a tasting event called Salon O yesterday featuring many of the bottles currently available in Korea.

Although there is no official regulations for what can be called a natural wine, the basic idea is to make wines without any additives or artificial chemicals that may kill any living organism during the winemaking process. The trend has arisen to protect and preserve vineyards’ soil for longer and to continue growing heathy grapes for a sustainable business, and many prestigious wineries have already been making their products as natural as possible. Choi Young-seon, the director of Vinofeel added that now the market for the natural wine is growing larger and French winemakers and authorities are also looking into defining the term officially.

To further explain the ideas behind making wines natural, five winemakers from Europe, including French winemaker Alexandre Bain, visited Korea for the event. What all of them emphasized was that they want to bring the character of the soil in their vineyards to bottles.

“What makes me inspired to make natural wine comes from our respect,” said Bain. “We have respect for grapes we grow, people working at the vineyards and their family, and even the consumers who drink the wine and all that respect is the power that pushes me to go natural.”

There were 11 wine importers introducing their wine in the tasting event open for the public. Wines from Vinocus, Crystal Wine, and Vitis and over 100 wines were available to taste.

Natural wine also comes in all types including white, red, rose and sparkling.

“I cannot say that the overall market for the natural wines in Korea is big, but the response from the market is more welcoming than I initially imagined before importing them,” said Han Woo-sung, marketing director of Vitis, a local wine importer, agreeing to the idea that people at least order natural wines once it is recommended at a shop or a restaurant as it sounds like a healthier option.

“It is definitely one of the major trends hitting the market in Europe and some other countries including Korea, and we will have to see in which direction this trend will develop.”

BY LEE SUN-MIN [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]