Dokdo Winery – Korean wine?

November 29, 2012

Korean wine

During a recent visit of the Korean parliament in Seoul, I came across the above poster. The advertisement was not about soju, the popular rice wine, but a wine made from grapes.

I was puzzled. Do they grow wine grapes in Korea? When approaching the display, things became a bit clearer.

The award winners

As it turned out, the display was about the islands of Dokdo, which are claimed by Korea and Japan in a territorial dispute arousing nationalist feelings in both places. The display was a kind of political statement.

A winery in the Napa Valley in California was bearing the same name, Dokdo Winery or Dokdo Vineyards. This brand was created by a Korean-American dentist Ahn Jae-hyun living in the Napa Valley, California.

Established in 2007, the winery produces about 20,000 bottles a year. Dokdo wines had also won a gold medal at the 2012 Korea Wine Challenge.

The 2012 Korea Wine Challenge

According to the wineries website, the new product was introduced into the market to draw people away from the controversial debate over which country – Korea or Japan – owns the rocky islands.

“Instead of appreciating the beauty of Dokdo, the world has been too busy fighting over it. The island should not be fought over; it should be shared,” the website said.

Unfortunately, I had no chance to sample the wine.

True is also, that Korea is an emerging market as far as grape wine is concerned. With rising incomes, wine consumption is also rising. In fact every restaurant I visited during my brief stay offered a selection of various wines, often from France but also from other wine producing countries.

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Advertising for China’s wine market

January 24, 2012

The other day when I travelLed in China, I realized that there are quite a few advertisements regarding grape wine displayed in prominent public places.

I found some attractive ads on a rotating billboard which I photographed. A glossy airline magazine had also a few ads which I found interesting.

Let us have a look at them.

The first four pictures below show caucasian men looking at wine bottles and/or seem to sample wine. The men are of a mature age and seem to know what they are doing. They emit the scent of experts, professionalism and sincerity suggesting that we the viewers can trust them.

I found the ad for icewine intriguing. The three others deal with red wine, the most appreciated grape wine in China.

The next Three pictures show specific wine brands promoted by the ad. Two of them are for Chinese brands, Chateau Junding and Niya, the thrid is for a French wine Chateau Marquis de Terme, Margaux? The price of 1600 Yuan is not insignificant, but many Chinese consumers go for the most expensive Frnech red wines. As almost everything in China wine consumption is booming. In 2012 China has overtaken the United Kingdom as the fifth largest wine consumer in the world.

The last two photos from an airline magazine cover a specific winery and wine region and invite people to visit the place. This is wine tourism in the making.

Given the fact that many prospective Chinese investors are visiting vineyards and wineries in Australia these days, and more and more buyers of Australian premium wines come from China, it is worthwhile to have closer look at the Chinese wine industry, wine consumption habits, change of tastes and many other issues related to the appreciation of fine wine.