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Year Of New Zealand Wine In Korea

Year Of New Zealand Wine In Korea

Auckland, 21 May 2003 -- New Zealand’s wine makers are poised to benefit from the substantial growth taking place in the Korean wine market, after thousands of visitors gave the thumbs up to our wines at the recent Seoul Wine Expo.

Trade New Zealand represented 10 New Zealand wineries at the second international wine exhibition in Seoul, which featured 3,000 wines from 15 countries. A further four New Zealand wineries were represented on booths hosted by their Korean importers.

Organisers say the New Zealand stall was one of the most popular, with many of the 11,000 people who visited the two-day expo queuing to sample the New Zealand offerings. A total of 21 wines were available for tasting with most of the 14 whites being Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir making up the bulk of the seven reds.

Many visitors wanted to know where they could purchase New Zealand wine, which to date has been available only at limited outlets such as hotel restaurants, department stores and a few wine shops.

A range of experts, including wine writers, teachers of university wine courses, restaurant and hotel wine buyers and wine importers also visited the New Zealand exhibition. Trade New Zealand Trade Development Executive Young-Gyun Shin says they were impressed by the quality of the wines.

“Many Koreans do not yet think of New Zealand as a wine producing country,” says Mr YG Shin. “They really liked the taste, finding our wines lighter than many others and very easy to drink.”

Imports of wine into Korea grew nearly 28% in 2002, and are now worth over $49.3 million. While New Zealand supplies only a fraction of the total (NZ$184,000 in 2002) exports increased by 300% last year.

Trade New Zealand’s wine sector specialist in Auckland, Paul Vaughan, says that New Zealand wineries are interested in market diversification, with 85% of exports currently going to the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. Wine exports are likely to triple over the next five years and Paul Vaughan says it is crucial that New Zealand establishes a footprint in the rapidly emerging Asian wine markets.

“Wineries are not looking for large sales in the short term – in fact New Zealand wine is in short supply at the moment – but we are carefully managing promotional activity to ensure that we are well-placed to grow in Asian markets when we have more wine available for export.”

New Zealand’s Trade Commissioner in Seoul, David Ferguson, says that ‘New World’ wines are certainly becoming more popular in the Korean market.

“Traditionally French red wine or whites from Germany and Italy have dominated the market, but wines from the New World are gaining popularity. More Koreans are travelling and experiencing other cultures and that, combined with the growth of an affluent middle class, has led to a growing appreciation of wine styles and the way wine complements food,” he says.

“Koreans are very brand conscious and want to know where the wine they are drinking comes from. The expo helped establish the profile and reputation of New Zealand wines, which will create demand for importers to source more product from New Zealand.”

Trade New Zealand contacted many of Korea’s leading wine importers before the Seoul Expo, inviting them to visit the New Zealand booth and providing information, in both Korean and English, on the participating New Zealand wineries. David Ferguson says further initiatives are planned including running New Zealand wine promotions at leading Korean restaurants and hotels.

“This is the year of New Zealand wine in Korea,” David Ferguson says. “A few years ago there was one New Zealand wine available in Korea – currently there are seven and we are aiming for 10 or 12 within a year.”

The New Zealand wineries represented on the Trade New Zealand booths at the Seoul Wine Expo 2003 were: Goldridge Estate Ltd Kahurangi Estate Winery Konrad and Co. Ltd Martinborough Vineyard Matakana Estate Wines Murdoch James Estate Ltd Schubert Wines Thornbury Wines Waimea Estates West Brook Winery

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