Let the good wines flow: Korean tasting and masterclass show off Aussie drops

2 December 2022

Koreans are raising their glasses to Australian wine, with Austrade hosting exclusive events to profile top drops.

Austrade partnered with Wine Australia to deliver these events. They included an Australian wine grand tasting in Seoul in October. An Australian wine masterclass in Busan followed in November. It was the first such event for this regional city.

The Seoul event highlighted classic and emerging Australian wines in a trade-tasting format. The Busan masterclass looked at Australia’s wine, including its history, regions and varietals.

Broad range of guests and brands

The events were pitched to retailers and distributors. It was attended by sommeliers, social media influencers and media reporters.

Across both events:

  • 30 Korean importers represented 44 Australian wine exporters
  • 3 Australian wineries made the trip to Korea, promoting their brands in-person
  • Over 70 in-market Australian wine brands were showcased 
  • Almost 360 Korean industry stakeholders attended the event.

A dynamic market open to new varietals

Australia is the sixth largest supplier of bottled wine to Korea. There are over 170 SKUs now available in the market.

Austrade Seoul Trade and Investment Commissioner Helen Oh says Australian wine’s reputation in Korea is going from strength to strength.

‘Austrade’s goal is to help Australian exporters increase their share of Korea’s imported wine market. These events boost the profile of existing wine brands by providing business-to-business tasting and learning opportunities,’ says Oh.

‘In Seoul, the tasting event took a walk-around format with guests visiting tables to sample wines. The masterclass in Busan was delivered to key Korean industry stakeholders using newly translated educational modules on Australian wines. Austrade and Wine Australia developed these resources.

‘We were excited to welcome nearly 360 customers to these events: 309 in Seoul, and 49 in Busan. There were 15 leads, and even on-the-spot sales deals signed with hotel and catering businesses.

‘Australia’s world-class shiraz and cabernet sauvignon are still the most sought varietals,’ adds Oh. ‘But there is an increasing demand for cooler climate regional wines and lighter tasting profiles. White varietals like chardonnay, riesling and semillon are becoming more popular. There is also a steadily growing interest in sparkling – both sweet and dry.

‘Coordinated, in-market promotion by Australia is essential to increase sales performance and differentiate our position from competitors.’

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A market with huge growth potential

Austrade Deputy CEO, Trade Daniel Boyer attended the Seoul tasting, spruiking Australian wine to attendees and local media.

‘Australian wine is held in incredibly high stead in Korea,’ says Boyer. ‘Consumers relish both our world-renowned and newer brands.

‘It is striking how sophisticated Korean consumers’ palates are, and how dynamic this emerging market is.

‘The Seoul tasting event was fast-paced and full of energy. Attendees were impressed with the new vintages being released. Of the 170 Australian wine SKUs sold in Korea, attendees could taste about 150.

‘The potential for Australian wine growth in Korea is huge,’ says Boyer. ‘Austrade looks forward to continuing to support exporters to grow their share.’

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