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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Korea: Georgian envoy upbeat about wine marketing

by Kang Hyun-kyung

22.12.2013. The Embassy of Georgia threw a wine-tasting party at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Wednesday, weeks after the Georgian wine-making techniques made the list of the world’s intangible cultural heritage.

More than 100 people, including experts in the wine industry and foreign diplomats based in Seoul, showed up at the year-end event to explore the taste of Georgian wines.

This is the third time that the embassy has hosted a wine-tasting event, following two events last year.

Ambassador Nokoloz Apkhazava vowed to work more actively to promote Georgian wine in Korea, saying that the wine-tasting event marks the beginning of that resolve.

He said that there are several things which make Georgian wines “special and unique.”

“Unlike wines from other countries, Georgian wineries use a clay vessel, which we call a kvevri, and store wines for several years deep underground,” the envoy said. “Georgians are the first producers of wines in the world and our long history in wine production makes our wines unique.”

In early December, the Georgian wine-making technology was placed on the list of intangible cultural heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Georgian wines made the list at the recent UNESCO meeting held in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku on Dec. 5, the same day the traditional Korean side-dish kimchi was also put on the list.

Ambassador Apkhazava stressed Georgia is home to some 500 kinds of grapes, exclusive to the country.

Coupled with the unique wine-making techniques, the envoy noted, the exclusive Georgian grapes have helped wineries there produce unique wines.

Compared to other established ones, Georgian wines are relatively new to Korean consumers.

Andrey Tsygankov, a Russian who owns a wine shop in Hannam-dong, Seoul, said that Georgian wines have a deep aftertaste, which can be a good match with spicy foods like those in Korean cuisine.

“Wines are being served with side dishes. If French wine is served with spicy Korean food, this is definitely not a good match as the taste of wine tends to go bad. That’s why Italian wine is served with Italian food, French wine with French food,” he said in Korean.

Tsygankov said those who have deep understanding of wines tend to explore Georgian wines.

“Regarding the market share of Georgian wine, I would say it is minimal at the moment. That is because the wine is new and has only been imported in recent years and therefore few people, except wine experts, know about it,” he said.

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