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Australian winemakers hope to generate local fans

Sept 11,2017
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Visitors at the “2017 Australian Wine Grand Tasting” smell wines, left, to detect different aromas commonly found in Australian wines, while winemakers mingle with local wine professionals at JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul in eastern Seoul. [AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT’S TRADE AND INVESTMENT COMMISSION]
Not-yet-imported Australian wines made a trip to Korea recently as winemakers hope to find a channel to provide local wine enthusiasts with their products.

Organized by Australian Government’s Trade and Investment Commission, the “2017 Australian Wine Grand Tasting” introduced a total of 240 wines at the JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul in eastern Seoul on Thursday.

The commission not only hosted a wine tasting but also seminars to provide information about the wine industry down under, a response to growing demand. The number of imported Australian wines grew last year by 14.2 percent, and through the event last year, three brands found local importers.

There was also an “aroma bar” to teach visitors about the scents found in many Australian wines, such as minty Eucalyptus, which comes from grapes harvested in vineyards close to Eucalyptus trees, and other citrus fruits.

To show how Australian wine is changing with a new generation of winemakers coming in town, wine expert Mike Bennie gave a seminar titled “Australia: Old School, New School, Good School.” He had two different wines made with the same grape variety, including Australia’s best-selling shiraz, riesling and chardonnay, as well as the newly popular grenache and nebbiolo.

“It is very exciting to see so many young people interested in wine and that makes me want to come back here again,” said Bennie as he was taking questions and tasting wine with visitors in the tasting room after the seminar, adding that the average age of visitors to the event seemed to be much younger than any other markets in Europe or Asia.

This year, the wines that attracted the most attention were pinot noir, especially from Tasmania and a southern region called Yarra Valley, not too far from Melbourne. Nocton Vineyard from Tasmania, which is not yet available in the Korean market, was particularly popular among local wine experts, as well as Giant Steps from Yarra Valley.

Some pinot noir that can be found in Korea, Bass Phillip and Moorila, also proved to be popular. Representatives of each winery were present to mingle with local experts.

Although the volume of total imports in Korea might be not as big as other markets in Asia or elsewhere, the country is attractive to many, as winemakers look to diversify their target markets and stay away from focusing only on bigger markets.

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