Vinitaly International Academy sets out to allure the promising Korean wine market
Italian Wines have to leverage the trend-setting Korean culture, "the Korean Wave"
Shortly after announcing its quest for 50 Ambassadors of Italian wine around the world, Vinitaly International Academy is now extending its boundaries further East to present for the very first time an Executive Wine Seminar in South Korea during the Asia Wine Buyers Conference, a series of B2B wine seminars and masterclasses organized on the occasion of the third edition of the Daejeon International Food & Wine Festival (2 – 5 October).
Although South Korea has not yet made the headlines as a wine importing country, the market is showing signs of great potential: after declining sharply in 2009 due to the financial crisis, the Korean wine market has rebounded quickly and continued an outstanding recovery since 2011 counting nearly 400 million USD worth sold in 2013. A further 25% increase is expected by 2017 (Source: Daejeon Food and Wine Festival - Prowein Study 2013, http://tinyurl.com/m7y7pxs)
Recognizing the country’s potential, Vinitaly International had already organized a seminar entirely dedicated to the Korean wine market back in April this year, during Vinitaly. What had emerged was the sketch of a country that that had a lot to offer both as a (Italian) wine-consuming market as well as a possible bridge to China.
Panellists concurred in considering the strong appeal for Italian food as one of the key factors that could greatly contribute to a future increase in Italian wine consumption.
“Among the important wine producing countries, Italy has the best conditions to promote Italian wines in Korea because there are a lot of Italian restaurants.” explains Mr Park, Director of the Global Marketing Support Team for both the Asia Wine Trophy and the Daejeon Festival as well as the organizer of the Buyers Conference. “The underlining that Italian wines go well with Korean food will not be effective. All wine producers in the world will say the same when they want to export their wines to Korea. A promotion of Italian wines in Italian restaurants in Korea in combination with education can be very fruitful.” In South Korea Italian restaurants rank fourth after Korean, Chinese and Japanese.
A strong association with lifestyle and well-being has also been contributing to an increase in the number of imported bottles. The health benefits of red wine are seen as especially important: Koreans generally prefer red wine, especially varieties with low acidity, an abundance of tannin, powerful structure and rich flavour. Recently there has been also a significant growth in sparkling wine, especially affordable varietals such as Moscato and Barbera.
If Italian wine producers can also get a famous soap star to publicly drink their wine, it’s a done deal, and as a part of it, they might even take home a wedge of the Chinese wine market, given the great popularity of Korean culture in Mainland China.
A good second best to a Korean pop star is undoubtedly education and during the Asia Wine Buyers Conference in Daejeon, Vinitaly International will be once again divulging the great variety of Italy’s many grapes and wines through its exclusive educational project, the Vinitaly International Academy.
Stevie Kim is a Korean-American who leads the Italian Wine promoting body Vinitaly and is also the founder of Vinitaly International Academy: “Italian Wines have to leverage the trend-setting Korean culture, “the Korean Wave”, to also influence other Asian markets” she explains. “For this and many other reasons Korea shows an even greater potential than other neighbouring countries. We cannot let this opportunity slip away. I understand there are 700+ Italian restaurants in Seoul alone, but Italian wines on the other hand have not been as effective in the market penetration. Now is our chance to bridge this gap through the Vinitaly International Academy and allow a Korean educator like Claire Kyunghwa Nam to demystify Italian wine and adapt it to local culture and language”.
The Executive Wine Seminar, “A Panorama of Italy’s Many Great and Diverse Wines”, will be presented on the 2nd of October by world famous wine expert Ian D’Agata in collaboration with one of Korea’s rising stars, freelance wine journalist Mrs Claire Kyunghwa Nam. Together they will be taking the public on a journey of discovery through 12 of Italy’s most notorious and representative wines including Josetta Saffirio’s Barbera D’Alba, the sparkling Prosecco Brut Crede of the famous Bisol Winery and Castello Banfi’s Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Poggio All’oro.
Veronafiere is the leading organizer of trade shows in Italy including Vinitaly (http://www.vinitaly.com), the largest wine event in the world. The 48th edition of Vinitaly counted some 155,000 visitors (+6%) in four days of event, of which 56.000 were international attendees representing 36% of the total. On 100.000 square meters, 4.000 exhibitors welcomed trade professionals, media and producers alike. The next instalment of the fair will take place on 22 – 25 March 2015. The premier event to Vinitaly, OperaWine (http://www.vinitalyinternational.com) “Finest Italian Wines: 100 Great Producers,” will unite international wine professionals on March 21st 2015 in the heart of Verona, offering them the unique opportunity to discover and taste the 100 best Italian wines, as selected by Wine Spectator. In 1998 Veronafiere also created Vinitaly International to develop a global platform for the promotion of Italian wine producers in foreign markets such as Russia, China, USA and Hong Kong.
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