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French wine expertise leads to win

July 13,2017
Sommelier Kim Jin-beom of restaurant Dadam, the winner of “Korea’s Best Sommelier in French Wines,” pours a French wine in the final round of the competition on Tuesday. [SOPEXA KOREA]
Sommelier Kim Jin-Beom knows more about French wine and how to serve it in Korea than almost anyone - at least more than the six other finalists against whom he competed in the 16th annual “Korea’s Best Sommelier in French Wines” on Tuesday. The competition is sponsored by France’s Ministry of Agriculture, Agri-food and Forestry and Sopexa Korea, a local branch of the international communication and marketing agency for food, wine and lifestyle.

Sommeliers were put in situations that could happen in actual restaurants, such as getting corks out of old bottles without breaking them for customers who want the stoppers as keepsakes. This is Kim’s fourth time to take part in the competition. Kim works for the restaurant Dadam, which serves Korean food in southern Seoul.

Even after the competitors - some of whom were non-professionals - return home, the contest could go on to inspire new wine pairings with Korean dishes. This helps the international crowd combine their daily drinks with new flavors.

“The exchange between Korea and France, in business or tourism, is [active], and that bilateral relationship gets to an even higher level through wine,” said Pascale Buch, an economic advisor at the French Embassy in Korea.

“Through wine we share the joy of life, and share many precious moments and that means the relationship between the two countries can develop further.”

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